Calibration of simulated rainfall characteristics for the study of soil erosion on agricultural land

Ries, Johannes Bernhard and Seeger, Manuel and Iserloh, Thomas and Wistorf, Stefanie and Fister, Wolfgang. (2009) Calibration of simulated rainfall characteristics for the study of soil erosion on agricultural land. Soil and Tillage Research, 116 (1). pp. 109-116.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/45470/

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Rainfall simulation is a widely used method for soil erosion studies on agricultural land. Major problem of this experimental research method is the comparability between different simulators due to differences in simulated rainfall. Therefore the purpose of this study is to characterize the rainfall produced by a rainfall simulator which was widely used during the last decades. Four different calibration methods were used to assess the drop size distribution: 1) Indication Paper, 2) Plaster Micro Plot, 3) Joss-Waldvogel Disdrometer and 4) Laser Distrometer (Thies). Additionally, the latter one was used to measure drop fall velocity in combination with drop diameter. The spatial drop distribution pattern on the plot was measured with 100 rainfallgauges. The spatial rainfall distribution pattern clearly shows a heterogeneity, which is caused by the used nozzle configuration. Considerable differences in drop-size distribution can be observed depending on the used measurement technique. Laser Disdrometer and Plaster Micro Plot cover the whole produced drop size spectrum ranging from < 0.5 mm to > 3.0 mm, whereas Indication Paper as well as the Joss-Waldvogel Disdrometer primarily show drops smaller than 2.0 mm. Characterisation of rainfall is therefore strongly dependent on the used method and if different methods are used, may lead to contradictory results. The volume drop size distribution reflected by the Laser Distrometer is very similar to that one produced by rain with an intensity of 40 mm h -1 . Nevertheless, with maximum velocities above 10 m s -1 small drops are by far too fast and large drops with velocities dominantly below 5 m s -1 are too slow compared to natural rainfall. As an overall result, the simulator can be characterised as suitable for runoff and infiltration measurements, but with constraints due to the low reproducibility of the spatial rain distribution. As a consequence of the produced drop spectrum and fall velocity the erosion quantities may be underestimated systematically. For this, methodological development has to be focussed on homogeneous spatial rainfall distributions and on increasing the amount of large drops with higher fall velocities.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Geowissenschaften > Physiogeographie und Umweltwandel (Kuhn)
UniBasel Contributors:Fister, Wolfgang
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:30 Nov 2017 15:12
Deposited On:29 Nov 2017 09:02

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