Global erosivity map adapted from “Scientific Reports”.
Photo: © Scientific Reports


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While water erosion is identified as the most serious cause of soil degradation globally, global patterns of rainfall erosivity remain poorly quantified, and estimates have large uncertainties. This hampers the implementation of effective soil degradation mitigation and restoration strategies. Quantifying rainfall erosivity is challenging as it requires high temporal resolution (<30 min) and high-fidelity rainfall recordings.

A team of international scientists at the Joint Research Centre of the EU Commission, in Ispra, Italy, recently presented the results of an extensive global data collection effort whereby they estimated rainfall erosivity for 3,625 stations covering 63 countries. This first ever Global Rainfall Erosivity Database was used to develop a global erosivity map.
The study was published in Scientific Reports, in July 2017.
For experts, model predictions of global erosivity are very important because they help assess risks as well as plan and implement effective soil mitigation and restoration strategies.
According to the study, erosion by rainfall remains poorly quantified despite its significance. This is because it is a complex event influenced by various factors including rainfall intensity, duration, amount and frequency — factors which are not captured in current erosivity estimates.
To model annual rainfall erosivity for different regions, the international team relied on rainfall data gathered from 3,625 stations scattered across 63 countries.

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