Influence of the rainfall measurement interval on the erosivity determinations in the Mediterranean area

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Abstract

The single-storm erosion index, EI, of the USLE and RUSLE models may vary appreciably with the rainfall measurement interval, Dt. However, the effect of Dt on EI has not been investigated in the Mediterranean area. Approximately 700 erosive events and 1.5 years of rainfall energies measured by a rainfall impact measurement device were used to evaluate the effect of the rainfall measurement interval (5 min 6 Dt 6 60 min) on the erosivity determinations in the Mediterranean semi-arid area of Sicily. According to both literature and practical considerations, a reference time interval equal to 15 min was used in this investigation. Hourly rainfall data led to an appreciable underestimation of the mean value of EI (i.e., by also a factor of two, depending on the location). In the range 5 min 6 Dt 6 15 min, the effect of the rainfall measurement interval on the predicted erosivity was negligible (i.e., mean values differing by a maximum factor of 1.10) as compared with the uncertainties in the soil loss predictions.Two methods were developed for estimating the reference single-storm erosion index, (EI)15,from hourly rainfall data in Sicily. Method 1 converts the erosion index calculated on a 60-min measurement interval basis to (EI)15. Method 2 estimates (EI)15 by using the storm rainfall depth and the maximum rainfall intensity. Testing the two methods against two independent data sets produced a maximum difference between the estimated and the calculated mean values of (EI)15 equal to 7% for method 1 and 11% for method 2. Both methods may be applied in practice, depending on the available rainfall data. For a given rainfall intensity, the specific power, P, measured at eight time intervals (5 min 6 Dt 6 60 min) was in the range ±10% of the mean of the eight P values.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)39-48
Numero di pagine10
RivistaJournal of Hydrology
Volume329
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology

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