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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 19, issue 6
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 2945–2961, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-19-2945-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 2945–2961, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-19-2945-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 26 Jun 2015

Research article | 26 Jun 2015

Projected changes in US rainfall erosivity

M. Biasutti and R. Seager M. Biasutti and R. Seager
  • Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, 61 Route 9W, Palisades, NY, USA

Abstract. Downscaled rainfall projections from 21 climate models from the CMIP5 (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5) archive are used to estimate future changes in rainfall erosivity in the continental Unites States. To estimate erosivity from rainfall in the absence of sub-hourly data, we have used both daily rainfall values and the modified Fournier index – which is based on monthly rainfall accumulation – and derived the scaling relationship between rainfall and erosivity from observational estimates of both.

The expectation of overall increase in erosivity is confirmed by these calculations, but a quantitative assessment is marred by large uncertainties. Specifically, the uncertainty in the method of estimation of erosivity is more consequential than that deriving from the spread in climate simulations and leads to changes of uncertain sign in parts of the southwest and Texas.

We suggest that progress can be made by establishing a more reliable functional relationship between daily rainfall and erosivity.

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Short summary
We estimate future changes in US erosivity from the most recent ensemble projections of daily and monthly rainfall accumulation. The expectation of overall increase in erosivity is confirmed by these calculations, but a quantitative assessment is marred by large uncertainties. Specifically, the uncertainty in the method of estimation of erosivity is more consequential than that deriving from the spread in climate simulations, and leads to changes of uncertain sign in parts of the south.
We estimate future changes in US erosivity from the most recent ensemble projections of daily...
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