The Tibetan Plateau is influenced by global climate change which results in frequent melting of glaciers and snow, and in heavy rainfalls. These conditions may increase the risk of soil erosion, but prediction is not feasible due to scarcity of rainfall data in the high altitudes of the region. In this study, daily precipitation data from 1 January 1981 to 31 December 2015 were selected for 38 meteorological stations in the Tibetan Plateau, and annual and seasonal rainfall erosivity were calculated for each station. Additionally, we used the Mann–Kendall trend test, Sen’s slope, trend coefficient, and climate tendency rate indicators to detect the temporal variation trend of rainfall erosivity. The results showed that the spatial distribution of rainfall erosivity in the Tibetan Plateau exhibited a significant decreasing trend from southeast to northwest. The average annual rainfall erosivity is 714 MJ·mm·ha−1
, and varies from 61 to 1776 MJ·mm·ha−1
. Rainfall erosivity was mainly concentrated in summer and autumn, accounting for 67.5% and 18.5%, respectively. In addition, annual, spring, and summer rainfall erosivity were increasing, with spring rainfall erosivity highly significant. Temporal and spatial patterns of rainfall erosivity indicated that the risk of soil erosion was relatively high in the Hengduan mountains in the eastern Tibetan Plateau, as well as in the Yarlung Zangbo River Valley and its vicinity.
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