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Prediction of factors affecting activation of soil erosion by mathematical modeling at pedon scale under laboratory conditions

  • Soil degradation due to erosion is a significant worldwide problem at different spatial (from pedon to watershed) and temporal scales. All stages and factors in the erosion process must be detected and evaluated to reduce this environmental issue and protect existing fertile soils and natural ecosystems. Laboratory studies using rainfall simulators allow single factors and interactive effects to be investigated under controlled conditions during extreme rainfall events. In this study, three main factors (rainfall intensity, inclination, and rainfall duration) were assessed to obtain empirical data for modeling water erosion during single rainfall events. Each factor was divided into three levels (− 1, 0, + 1), which were applied in different combinations using a rainfall simulator on beds (6 × 1 m) filled with soil from a study plot located in the arid Sistan region, Iran. The rainfall duration levels tested were 3, 5, and 7 min, the rainfall intensity levels were 30, 60, and 90 mm/h, and the inclination levels were 5, 15, and 25%. The results showed that the highest rainfall intensity tested (90 mm/h) for the longest duration (7 min) caused the highest runoff (62 mm3/s) and soil loss (1580 g/m2/h). Based on the empirical results, a quadratic function was the best mathematical model (R2 = 0.90) for predicting runoff (Q) and soil loss. Single-factor analysis revealed that rainfall intensity was more influential for runoff production than changes in time and inclination, while rainfall duration was the most influential single factor for soil loss. Modeling and three-dimensional depictions of the data revealed that sediment production was high and runoff production lower at the beginning of the experiment, but this trend was reversed over time as the soil became saturated. These results indicate that avoiding the initial stage of erosion is critical, so all soil protection measures should be taken to reduce the impact at this stage. The final stages of erosion appeared too complicated to be modeled, because different factors showed differing effects on erosion.

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Author:Saeed Shojaei, Zahra Kalantari, Jesús Rodrigo‑Comino
Parent Title (English):Scientific Reports
Publisher:Springer Nature
Place of publication:London
Document Type:Article
Date of completion:2020/11/19
Date of publication:2020/11/19
Publishing institution:Universität Trier
Contributing corporation:The publication was funded by the Open Access Fund of Universität Trier and the German Research Foundation (DFG)
Release Date:2021/09/06
GND Keyword:Beregnung; Bodenerosion; Sistānbecken
Issue / no.:10
Number of pages:12
Institutes:Fachbereich 6 / Raum- und Umweltwissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:9 Geschichte und Geografie / 90 Geschichte / 900 Geschichte und Geografie
Licence (German):License LogoCC BY: Creative-Commons-Lizenz 4.0 International

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