Special Issue "Rainfall Erosivity in Soil Erosion Processes"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Erosion and Sediment Transport".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2019).

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Special Issue Editors

Dr. Nazzareno Diodato
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Met European Research Observatory, 82100 Benevento, Italy
Interests: climate history; geostatistics; hydrological modelling; precipitation extremes; soil erosion; water resources management
Dr. Gianni Bellocchi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRAE), Université Clermont Auvergne (UCA), VetAgro Sup, UREP, 63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France
Interests: agricultural and environmental climatology; biogeochemical fluxes; hydro-meteorology
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The challenges that soils are facing today imply that aspects related to the intensifying precipitation cycle, such as rainfall erosivity, cannot be ignored. Large portions of land in the world are exposed to multiple damaging hydrological events. They include destructive phenomena like landslides and floods, which cause disruption to people and goods. Climate and land-use changes are the primary causes of accelerated soil erosion, which has substantial implications for macro- and micro-nutrient transformations in soils and water, and for the control of terrestrial carbon feedback. Data and modelling approaches are still scarce on how changes in the spatial and temporal features of rainfall patterns influence the magnitude and timing of erosive storms, which in turn results in changes in the landscape response.

There appears to be rich potential for innovative research for variable spatial and temporal scales at the interface between geomorphology, hydrogeology, and ecology. This Special Issue plays a major emphasis on the landscape–rainfall interplay as a dynamic concept. We call for contributions that explore (i) how erosive rainfall and soil erosion respond to climatic variability and human activity, and (ii) how such changes explain the changes in carbon and nutrient pools (and their spatial heterogeneity) in terrestrial and water systems. We welcome contributions providing evidence that changing precipitation regimes are altering the risk and magnitude of landscape changes. Contributors are encouraged to show how current process studies can extend the historical erosion records, while unravelling the complex interactions between internal landscape dynamics, human impacts, and changes in precipitation regimes. Contributions should also aim consider issues of land‐use management in addressing the changes and geomorphic process regimes that extreme precipitation can trigger. They should illustrate how climate change impacts can be disentangled from other controlling factors, thereby contributing to debates over societal adaptation to extreme rainfalls towards developing more resilient, less vulnerable socio‐geomorphological systems.

Dr. Nazzareno Diodato
Dr. Gianni Bellocchi
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • climate variability
  • hydrogeomorphology
  • land management
  • landscape response
  • rainfall erosivity
  • soil erosion

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Rainfall Erosivity in Soil Erosion Processes
Water 2020, 12(3), 722; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030722 - 06 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 984
Abstract
Regional studies on the erosive power of rainfall patterns are still limited and the actual impacts that may follow on erosional and sedimentation processes are poorly understood. Given the several interrelated challenges of environmental management, it is also not always unclear what is [...] Read more.
Regional studies on the erosive power of rainfall patterns are still limited and the actual impacts that may follow on erosional and sedimentation processes are poorly understood. Given the several interrelated challenges of environmental management, it is also not always unclear what is relevant for the development of adaptive and integrated approaches facilitating sustainable water resource management. This editorial introduces the Special Issue entitled “Rainfall Erosivity in Soil Erosion Processes”, which offers options to fill some of these gaps. Three studies performed in China and Central Asia (by Duulatov et al., Water 2019, 11, 897, Xu et al., 2019, 11, 2429, Gu et al. 2020, 12, 200) show that the erosion potential of rainfall is increasing in this region, driving social, economic, and environmental consequences. In the same region (the Weibei Plateau in China), Fu et al. (Water 2019, 11, 1514) assessed the effect of raindrop energy on the splash distance and particle size distribution of aggregate splash erosion. In the Mediterranean, updated estimates of current and future rainfall erosivity for Greece are provided by Vantas et al. (Water 2020, 12, 687), while Diodato and Bellocchi (Water 2019, 11, 2306) reconstructed and investigated seasonal net erosion in an Italian catchment using parsimonious modelling. Then, this Special Issue includes two technologically oriented articles by Ricks at al. The first (Water 2019, 11, 2386) evaluated a large-scale rainfall simulator design to simulate rainfall with characteristics similar to natural rainfall. The data provided contribute to the information that may be useful for the government’s decision making when considering landscape changes caused by variations in the intensity of a rainfall event. The second article (Water 2020, 12, 515) illustrated a laboratory-scale test of mulching methods to protect against the discharge of sediment-laden stormwater from active construction sites (e.g., highway construction projects). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall Erosivity in Soil Erosion Processes)

Research

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Article
Estimating Current and Future Rainfall Erosivity in Greece Using Regional Climate Models and Spatial Quantile Regression Forests
Water 2020, 12(3), 687; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030687 - 03 Mar 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1544
Abstract
A future variation of precipitation characteristics, due to climate change, will affect the ability of rainfall to precipitate soil loss. In this paper, the monthly and annual values of rainfall erosivity (R) in Greece are calculated, for the historical period 1971–2000, using precipitation [...] Read more.
A future variation of precipitation characteristics, due to climate change, will affect the ability of rainfall to precipitate soil loss. In this paper, the monthly and annual values of rainfall erosivity (R) in Greece are calculated, for the historical period 1971–2000, using precipitation records that suffer from a significant volume of missing values. In order to overcome the data limitations, an intermediate step is applied using the calculation of monthly erosivity density, which is more robust to the presence of missing values. Spatial Quantile Regression Forests, a data driven algorithm that imitates kriging without the need of strict statistical assumptions, was utilized and validated, in order to create maps of R and its uncertainty using error propagation. The monthly average precipitation for the historical period 1971–2000 estimated by five (5) Global Circulation Models-Regional Climatic Models were validated against observed values and the one with the best performance was used to estimate projected changes of R in Greece for the future time period 2011–2100 and two different greenhouse gases concentration scenarios. The main findings of this study are: (a) the mean annual R in Greece is 1039 MJ·mm/ha/h/y, with a range between 405.1 and 3160.2 MJ·mm/ha/h/y. The highest values are calculated at the mountain range of Pindos and the lowest at central Greece; (b) the monthly R maps adhere to the spatiotemporal characteristics of precipitation depth and intensities over the country; (c) the projected R values, as an average over Greece, follow the projected changes of precipitation of climatic models, but not in a spatially homogenous way. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall Erosivity in Soil Erosion Processes)
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Article
Evaluation of Hydromulches as an Erosion Control Measure Using Laboratory-Scale Experiments
Water 2020, 12(2), 515; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12020515 - 13 Feb 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 812
Abstract
Discharge of sediment-laden stormwater from active construction sites, such as highway construction projects, continues to be a growing concern in the construction industry. Therefore, there has been an increased interest in research efforts to test many different erosion and sediment control practices. The [...] Read more.
Discharge of sediment-laden stormwater from active construction sites, such as highway construction projects, continues to be a growing concern in the construction industry. Therefore, there has been an increased interest in research efforts to test many different erosion and sediment control practices. The purpose of this research effort was to test the laboratory-scale performance of four hydromulches and two methods of mulching (crimped and tackified), normalized to a bare soil control condition using 0.6 m (2 ft) wide by 1.2 m (4 ft) long test plots. The treatments consisted of a (1) bare soil control, (2) conventional straw, crimped, (3) conventional straw, tackified, (4) wood fiber hydromulch, (5) straw and cotton hydromulch, (6) cotton fiber reinforced matrix hydromulch, and (7) bonded wheat fiber matrix hydromulch. Each treatment was subject to simulated rainfall, divided into four 15 min rainfall events with 15 min breaks in between, producing a total cumulative rainfall of 11.2 cm (4.4 in.). To determine the overall performance of each treatment, turbidity and soil loss measurements were continuously collected from plot runoff. The products tested provided a reduction in turbidity of 80%, 98%, 85%, 92%, 95%, and 99%; and a soil loss reduction of 96%, 98%, 94%, 97%, 99%, and 100%, respectively. Overall, the results showed that the four tested hydromulch practices and conventional straw applications were successful in controlling and reducing erosion under laboratory-scale simulated rainfall conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall Erosivity in Soil Erosion Processes)
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Article
Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Rainfall Erosivity in the Tibetan Plateau
Water 2020, 12(1), 200; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12010200 - 10 Jan 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 982
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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·h−1, and varies from 61 to 1776 MJ·mm·ha−1·h−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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall Erosivity in Soil Erosion Processes)
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Article
Effect of Rain Peak Morphology on Runoff and Sediment Yield in Miyun Water Source Reserve in China
Water 2019, 11(12), 2429; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11122429 - 20 Nov 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 844
Abstract
The research on the impact of rainfall patterns on runoff and sediment yield is still insufficient, especially under natural rainfall conditions. We analyzed the influence of rain peak morphology on runoff and sediment yield based on the data of rainfall, runoff, and sediment [...] Read more.
The research on the impact of rainfall patterns on runoff and sediment yield is still insufficient, especially under natural rainfall conditions. We analyzed the influence of rain peak morphology on runoff and sediment yield based on the data of rainfall, runoff, and sediment in the bare runoff plot of Shixia, a small watershed in the Miyun district of Beijing, from 2007 to 2016. We took 0.4 mm min−1 as the standard of rain peak classification and the peak width, peak number, peak value, peak position and multi-peak continuity as the indexes of rain peak morphology. The results showed that: (1) Peak number, peak value, and peak width were significantly correlated with runoff and sediment yield, while peak position was irrelevant. The order of correlation between rain peak morphology indexes and runoff yield was peak width (0.71) > peak number (0.69) > peak value (0.33) > peak position (0.05). The order of correlation between rain peak morphological indexes and sediment yield was peak width (0.62) > peak value (0.36) > peak number (0.36) > peak position (−0.09). The multi-peak continuity was not correlated with runoff (0.12) and sediment yield (0.45). (2) When the number of rain peaks was greater than one in a single rainfall, the amount of runoff and sediment production increased significantly. (3) For multi-peak rainfall, 90 min was the boundary point of the rain peak interval, and the sediment yield formed by rainfall with a rain peak continuity >1/90 min−1 was significantly larger than the rainfall of ≤1/90 min−1. (4) Covariance analysis showed that the runoff caused by rainfall with a peak at the middle positions was obviously more than rainfall with a peak at the front position. However, the peak position had no significant effect on the sediment yield. (5) The peak rainfall amount of a rainfall (TPR) was a comprehensive index reflecting peak number, peak value and peak width, and the correlation between it and the sediment yield and runoff reached 0.60 and 0.71, respectively. Statistical rainfall characteristic indexes included rainfall amount, average rainfall intensity, rainfall duration, I5 (maximum 5-min rainfall intensity), I10, I15, I20, I30, and I60, among which I60 had the strongest correlation with runoff and sediment yield (0.69, 0.60), which were much larger than other rainfall indexes (0.08~0.47, 0.14~0.48) except rainfall amount (0.75, 0.37). By establishing a regression equation, it was found that both TPR and I60 had good explanatory power for runoff and weak explanatory power for sediment yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall Erosivity in Soil Erosion Processes)
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Article
Design of a Pressurized Rainfall Simulator for Evaluating Performance of Erosion Control Practices
Water 2019, 11(11), 2386; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11112386 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 888
Abstract
Construction site erosion and resulting sedimentation constitutes one of the greatest non-point source pollution threats to our nation’s waterways. Erosion control practices are important aspects of any construction project due to their ability to limit the process of erosion. Testing erosion control practices [...] Read more.
Construction site erosion and resulting sedimentation constitutes one of the greatest non-point source pollution threats to our nation’s waterways. Erosion control practices are important aspects of any construction project due to their ability to limit the process of erosion. Testing erosion control practices under simulated rainfall representative of conditions experienced on construction sites is important to better understand their erosion reduction capabilities. Full-scale testing using simulated rainfall has been shown to provide controllable and repeatable results, in comparison to field-testing under natural conditions. Therefore, the focus of this study was to design, construct, and calibrate a pressurized rainfall simulator testing apparatus capable of accurately and repeatedly simulating rainfall intensities of 50.8, 101.6, and 152.4 mm/hr (2.0, 4.0, and 6.0 in/hr) for 20-min intervals. The developed testing apparatus consisted of a 12 m (40 ft) long by 2.4 m (8.0 ft) earthen slope at a 3H:1V slope. Ten sprinkler risers at a height of 4.27 m (14 ft) were installed around the perimeter of the slope to create a uniform distribution of rainfall. Data collection procedures consisted of collecting and analyzing rainfall depth, drop size distributions, and sediment concentrations. The optimum location for each sprinkler riser, as well as the most accurate nozzle configuration, were determined through test procedures developed for this study. Through calibration testing, the simulator was found to produce accurate rainfall intensities with relative errors of 1.17–4.00% of the target intensities. Uniformity of rainfall distribution ranged from 85.7 to 87.5%. Average drop sizes were determined to be between 2.35 and 2.58 mm (0.093 to 0.102 in.). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall Erosivity in Soil Erosion Processes)
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Article
Reconstruction of Seasonal Net Erosion in a Mediterranean Landscape (Alento River Basin, Southern Italy) over the Past Five Decades
Water 2019, 11(11), 2306; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11112306 - 04 Nov 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 861
Abstract
In the low Mediterranean basin, late spring and autumn rainfall events have the potential to increase discharge and transport substantial amounts of sediment soil (that is, the net soil erosion from a watershed). For the Alento River Basin (ARB), located in the low [...] Read more.
In the low Mediterranean basin, late spring and autumn rainfall events have the potential to increase discharge and transport substantial amounts of sediment soil (that is, the net soil erosion from a watershed). For the Alento River Basin (ARB), located in the low Tyrrhenian coast of Italy, we estimated changes of net erosion as dependent on the seasonality of antecedent soil moisture and its control on rainfall-runoff and erosivity. Based on rainfall and runoff erosivity sub-models, we developed a simplified model to evaluate basin-wide sediment yields on a monthly basis by upscaling point rainfall input. For the period 1951–2018, the reconstruction of a time series of monthly net erosion data indicated a decreasing trend of the sediment yield after 1991. Revegetation and land abandonment that occurred in the last decades can explain such a decrease of net erosion, which occurred even when rainfall erosivity increased. This response, obtained at the basic scale, does not exclude that rapidly developing mesoscale convective systems, typically responsible for the heaviest and most destructive rainfall events in the ARB, can affect small catchments, which are the most vulnerable systems to storm-driven flash floods and soil erosion hazards during soil tilling in spring and at beginning of autumn. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall Erosivity in Soil Erosion Processes)
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Article
Raindrop Energy Impact on the Distribution Characteristics of Splash Aggregates of Cultivated Dark Loessial Cores
Water 2019, 11(7), 1514; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11071514 - 21 Jul 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1183
Abstract
To determine the effect of different rainfall energy levels on the breakdown of soil aggregates, this study analyzed the soil splash erosion amounts and the distribution of particle sizes under six rainfall conditions (rainfall energy: 2.41 × 10−5–22.4 × 10−5 [...] Read more.
To determine the effect of different rainfall energy levels on the breakdown of soil aggregates, this study analyzed the soil splash erosion amounts and the distribution of particle sizes under six rainfall conditions (rainfall energy: 2.41 × 10−5–22.4 × 10−5 J m−2 s−1 and 1.29 × 10−4 J m−2 s−1) at five splash distances (from 0–10 cm to 40–50 cm). Cores of the size 10 × 20 cm of undisturbed cultivated dark loessial soil were selected in tree replicates as the research subject. The results indicated that splashed aggregates were distributed mainly at splash distances of 0–20 cm, which accounted for 66%–90% of the total splash erosion amount. The splash erosion amount significantly decreased exponentially with increasing splash distance for the same rainfall energy (p < 0.01). The splash erosion amount significantly increased in the power function relationship with increasing rainfall energy at the same splash distance (p < 0.05). A model was obtained to predict the splash erosion amount for rainfall energy and splash distance. The fractal dimension (D) of the aggregates showed a downward opening parabolic relationship with raindrop energy. The maximal value of the rainfall energy was 1.286 × 10−4 J m−2 s−1, which broke the aggregates to the largest degree. Enrichment ratio (ER) values for fragments >2 mm were close to 0. A particle size of 0.25 mm was the critical particle level for splash erosion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall Erosivity in Soil Erosion Processes)
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Article
Projected Rainfall Erosivity Over Central Asia Based on CMIP5 Climate Models
Water 2019, 11(5), 897; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11050897 - 28 Apr 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1957
Abstract
Climate change-induced precipitation variability is the leading cause of rainfall erosivity that leads to excessive soil losses in most countries of the world. In this paper, four global climate models (GCMs) were used to characterize the spatiotemporal prediction of rainfall erosivity and assess [...] Read more.
Climate change-induced precipitation variability is the leading cause of rainfall erosivity that leads to excessive soil losses in most countries of the world. In this paper, four global climate models (GCMs) were used to characterize the spatiotemporal prediction of rainfall erosivity and assess the effect of variations of rainfall erosivity in Central Asia. The GCMs (BCCCSM1-1, IPSLCM5BLR, MIROC5, and MPIESMLR) were statistically downscaled using the delta method under Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) 2.6 and 8.5 for two time periods: “Near” and “Far” future (2030s and 2070s). These GCMs data were used to estimate rainfall erosivity and its projected changes over Central Asia. WorldClim data was used as the present baseline precipitation scenario for the study area. The rainfall erosivity (R) factor of the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) was used to determine rainfall erosivity. The results show an increase in the future periods of the annual rainfall erosivity compared to the baseline. For all GCMs, with an average change in rainfall erosivity of about 5.6% (424.49 MJ mm ha−1 h−1 year−1) in 2030s and 9.6% (440.57 MJ mm ha−1 h−1 year−1) in 2070s as compared to the baseline of 402 MJ mm ha−1 h−1 year−1. The magnitude of the change varies with the GCMs, with the largest change being 26.6% (508.85 MJ mm ha−1 h−1 year−1), occurring in the MIROC-5 RCP8.5 scenario in the 2070s. Although annual rainfall erosivity shows a steady increase, IPSLCM5ALR (both RCPs and periods) shows a decrease in the average erosivity. Higher rainfall amounts were the prime causes of increasing spatial-temporal rainfall erosivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall Erosivity in Soil Erosion Processes)
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