Predicting rainfall erosivity by momentum and kinetic energy in Mediterranean environment

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4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Rainfall erosivity is an index that describes the power of rainfall to cause soil erosion and it is used around the world for assessing and predicting soil loss on agricultural lands. Erosivity can be represented in terms of both rainfall momentum and kinetic energy, both calculated per unit time and area. Contrasting results on the representativeness of these two variables are available: some authors stated that momentum and kinetic energy are practically interchangeable in soil loss estimation while other found that kinetic energy is the most suitable expression of rainfall erosivity. The direct and continuous measurements of momentum and kinetic energy by a disdrometer allow also to establish a relationship with rainfall intensity at the study site. At first in this paper a comparison between the momentum-rainfall intensity relationships measured at Palermo and El Teularet by an optical disdrometer is presented. For a fixed rainfall intensity the measurements showed that the rainfall momentum values measured at the two experimental sites are not coincident. However both datasets presented a threshold value of rainfall intensity over which the rainfall momentum assumes a quasi-constant value. Then the reliability of a theoretically deduced relationship, linking momentum, rainfall intensity and median volume diameter, is positively verified using measured raindrop size distributions. An analysis to assess which variable, momentum or kinetic energy per unit area and time, is the best predictor of erosivity in Italy and Spain was also carried out. This investigation highlighted that the rainfall kinetic energy per unit area and time can be substituted by rainfall momentum as index for estimating the rainfall erosivity, and this result does not depend on the site where precipitation occurs. Finally, rainfall intensity measurements and soil loss data collected from the bare plots equipped at Sparacia experimental area were used to verify the reliability of some rainfall erosivity indices and their ability to distinguish the type of involved soil erosion processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-183
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Volume560
Publication statusPublished - 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology

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