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Rainfall erosivity and its estimation for Australia's tropics

B. Yu

Australian Journal of Soil Research 36(1) 143 - 166
Published: 1998


Pluviograph data at 6-min intervals for 41 sites in the tropics of Australia were used to compute the rainfall and runoff factor (R-factor) for the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE), and a daily rainfall erosivity model was validated for these tropical sites. Mean annual rainfall varies from about 300 mm at Jervois (015602) to about 4000 at Tully (032042). The corresponding R-factor ranges from 1080 to 33500 MJ·mm/(ha ·h·year). For these tropical sites, both rainfall and rainfall erosivity are highly seasonal with a single peak in February mostly. Summer months (November–April) typically contribute about 80% of annual rainfall and about 90% of the R-factor. The daily erosivity model performed better for the tropical sites with a marked wet season in summer in comparison to model performance in temperate regions of Australia where peak rainfall and peak rainfall erosivity may occur in different seasons. A set of regional parameters depending on seasonal rainfall was developed so that the R-factor and its seasonal distribution can be estimated for sites without pluviograph data. The prediction error using the regional parameter values is about 20% for the R-factor and 1% for its monthly distribution for these tropical sites.

Keywords: RUSLE, daily erosivity model.

© CSIRO 1998

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