Rainfall erosivity is the driving force of soil erosion and it is characterized by a large variability in space and time. In order to obtain robust estimates of rainfall erosivity, long series of high-frequency rainfall data are needed, which are often not available for large study areas. In this study we reconstructed past rainfall erosivity in Europe for the period 1961–2018, with the aim to investigate temporal changes in rainfall erosivity. As input data, we used the Rainfall Erosivity Database at European Scale (REDES) and Uncertainties in Ensembles of Regional Reanalyses (UERRA) rainfall data. Using a set of regression models, which we derived with the application of the k-fold cross-validation approach, we computed the annual rainfall erosivity for the 1675 stations forming the REDES database. Based on the reconstructed data, we derived a rainfall erosivity trend map for Europe where the results were qualitatively validated. Among the stations showing a statistically significant trend, we observed a tendency towards more positive (15%) than negative trends (7%). In addition, we also observed an increasing tendency of the frequency of years with maximum erosivity values. Geographically, large parts of regions such as Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Baltic countries, Great Britain and Ireland, part of the Balkan Peninsula, most of Italy, Benelux countries, northern part of Germany, part of France, among others, are characterized by a positive trend in rainfall erosivity. By contrast, negative trends in annual rainfall erosivity could be observed for most of the Iberian Peninsula, part of France, most of the Alpine area, Southern Germany, and part of the Balkan Peninsula, among others. The new dataset of rainfall erosivity trends reported in this study scientifically provides new information to better understand the impacts of the ongoing erosivity trends on soil erosion across Europe, while, from a policy perspective, the gained findings provide new knowledge to support the development of soil erosion indicators aiming at promoting mitigation measures at regional and pan-European level.
Bezak, N., Ballabio, C., Mikos, M., Petan, S., Borrelli, P., Panagos, P. (2020). Reconstruction of past rainfall erosivity and trend detection based on the REDES database and reanalysis rainfall. JOURNAL OF HYDROLOGY, 590, 125372 [10.1016/j.jhydrol.2020.125372].