The universal soil loss equation (USLE) is widely used to identify areas of erosion risk at regional scales. In Brandenburg, USLE R factors are usually estimated from summer rainfall, based on a relationship from the 1990s. We compared estimated and calculated factors of 22 stations with 10-min rainfall data. To obtain more realistic estimations, we regressed the latter to three rainfall indices (total and heavy-rainfall sums). These models were applied to estimate future R factors of 188 climate stations. To assess uncertainties, we derived eight scenarios from 15 climate models and two representative concentration pathways (RCP), and compared the effects of index choice to the choices of climate model, RCP, and bias correction. The existing regression model underestimated the calculated R factors by 40%. Moreover, using heavy-rainfall sums instead of total sums explained the variability of current R factors better, increased their future changes, and reduced the model uncertainty. The impact of index choice on future R factors was similar to the other choices. Despite all uncertainties, the results indicate that average R factors will remain above past values. Instead, the extent of arable land experiencing excessive soil loss might double until the mid-century with RCP 8.5 and unchanged land management.
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