Projected changes in US rainfall erosivity
- 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.