09 Aug 2021

09 Aug 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Exploring the possible role of satellite-based rainfall data to estimate inter‐ and intra‐annual global rainfall erosivity

Nejc Bezak1, Pasquale Borrelli2,3, and Panos Panagos4 Nejc Bezak et al.
  • 1University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering, Slovenia
  • 2Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Pavia, Italy
  • 3Department of Biological Environment, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 24341, Republic of Korea
  • 4European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy

Abstract. Despite recent developments in modelling global soil erosion by water, to date no substantial progress has been made towards more dynamic inter- and intra-annual assessments. In this regard, the main challenge is still represented by the limited availability of high temporal resolution rainfall data needed to estimate rainstorms rainfall erosivity. As this data scarcity is likely to characterize the upcoming years, the suitability of alternative approaches to estimate global rainfall erosivity using satellite-based rainfall data was explored. For this purpose, the high spatial and temporal resolution global precipitation estimates obtained with the NOAA CDR Climate Prediction Center MORPHing technique (CMORPH) were used. Alternatively, the erosivity density (ED) concept was used to estimate global rainfall erosivity as well. The obtained global estimates of rainfall erosivity were validated against the pluviograph data included in the Global Rainfall Erosivity Database (GloREDa).

Overall, results indicated that the CMORPH estimates have a marked tendency to underestimate rainfall erosivity when compared to the GloREDa estimates. The most substantial underestimations were observed in areas with the highest rainfall erosivity values. At continental level, the best agreement between annual CMORPH and interpolated GloREDa rainfall erosivity map was observed in Europe. Worse agreement was detected for Africa and South America. Further analyses conducted at monthly scale for Europe revealed seasonal misalignments, with the occurrence of underestimation of the CMORPH estimates in the summer period and overestimation in the winter period compared to GloREDa. The best agreement between the two approaches to estimate rainfall erosivity was found for autumn, especially in Central and Eastern Europe. Conducted analysis suggested that satellite-based approaches for estimation of rainfall erosivity appear to be more suitable for low-erosivity regions, while in high erosivity regions and seasons (> 1,000–2,000 MJ mm ha−1 h−1 yr−1), the agreement with estimates obtained from pluviograph data such as GloREDa is lower.

Concerning the ED estimates, this second approach to estimate rainfall erosivity yielded better agreement with GloREDa estimates compared to CMORPH. The application of a simple-linear function correction of the CMORPH data was applied to provide better fit to the GloREDa and correct systematic underestimation. This correction improved the performance of the CMORPH but in areas with the highest rainfall erosivity rates the underestimation was still observed. A preliminary trend analysis of the CMORPH rainfall erosivity estimates was also performed for the 1998–2019 period. According to this trend analysis, increasing and statistically significant trend was more frequently observed than decreasing trend.

Nejc Bezak et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-417', Anonymous Referee #1, 29 Oct 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Nejc Bezak, 10 Dec 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2021-417', Anonymous Referee #2, 26 Nov 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Nejc Bezak, 10 Dec 2021

Nejc Bezak et al.


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Short summary
Rainfall erosivity is among the main drivers of soil erosion. Satellite based global rainfall erosivity map was prepared using data with 30-min time interval. It was shown that the satellite-based precipitation products tend be an interesting option for the estimation of the rainfall erosivity, especially in regions with limited ground data. However, ground-based high-frequency precipitation measurements are (still) essential for accurate rainfall erosivity estimates.