Erosion and Precipitation

Authored by: Bofu Yu

Encyclopedia of Environmental Management

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439829271
eBook ISBN: 9781351235860
Adobe ISBN:


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Precipitation and runoff resulting from it are the principal agents for water erosion and sediment transport. Rainfall erosivity is a measure of the climatic influence on water erosion. The amount of erosion was found to be proportional to the product of total kinetic energy and peak rainfall intensity, or the rainfall erosivity index in relation to the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE). The rainfall erosivity index can be determined using rainfall intensity data at short time intervals (≤15 min) or estimated from daily, monthly, or annual rainfall totals. As precipitation is non-linearly related to erosion, the impact on erosion as a result of changes to rainfall will be magnified by a factor of up to 2. Precipitation, or rather a lack of it, is also related to wind erosion in arid environments with dry soil surface and poor ground cover.

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