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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-504
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-504
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 19 Oct 2018

Research article | 19 Oct 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Rain erosivity map for Germany derived from contiguous radar rain data

Franziska K. Fischer1,2,3, Tanja Winterrath4, and Karl Auerswald1 Franziska K. Fischer et al.
  • 1Lehrstuhl für Grünlandlehre, Technische Universität München, Freising, 85354, Germany
  • 2Bayerische Landesanstalt für Landwirtschaft, Freising, 85354, Germany
  • 3Außenstelle Weihenstephan, Deutscher Wetterdienst, Freising, 85354, Germany
  • 4Deutscher Wetterdienst, Department of Hydrometeorology, Offenbach/Main, 63067, Germany

Abstract. Erosive rainfall varies pronouncedly in time and space. Severe events are often restricted to a few square kilometers. Rain radar data with high spatio-temporal resolution enable this pattern of erosivity to be portrayed for the first time. We used radar data collected with a spatial resolution of 1km2 for 452503km2 to derive a new erosivity map for Germany and to analyze the seasonal distribution of erosivity. Extraordinarily large filtering was necessary to extract the expected long-term regional pattern from the scattered pattern of events. Filtering included averaging 2001 to 2017 and smoothing in time and space. The pattern of the resulting map generally agreed well with the previous map based on regressions of rain gauge data (mainly from the 1960s to 1980s). The pattern was predominantly shaped by orography. However, the new map has more detail; it deviates in some regions where the regressions previously used were weak; most importantly, it shows that erosivity is about 66% higher than in the map previously used. This increase in erosivity was confirmed by long-term data from rain gauge stations used for the previous map. The change was thus not caused by using a different methodology but by weather changes that may already be a dramatic result of climate change since the 1970s. Furthermore, the seasonal distribution of erosivity showed that more erosivity falls during the winter period when soil cover by plants is usually poor. For many crops higher erosion therefore also results from the change in seasonality. Predicted soil erosion in winter wheat is now about four times higher than in the 1970s due to the seasonal changes, combined with the increased erosivity. These topical erosivity data with high resolution will thus have definite consequences for agricultural advisory services, landscape planning and even political decisions.

Franziska K. Fischer et al.
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Franziska K. Fischer et al.
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Short summary
Radar rain data enable for the first time portraying the erosivity pattern with high spatial and temporal resolution. This allowed quantification of erosivity in Germany with unprecedented detail. Compared to previous estimates, erosivity has strongly increased and its seasonal distribution has changed presumably due to climate change. As a consequence, erosion for some crops is four times higher than previously estimated.
Radar rain data enable for the first time portraying the erosivity pattern with high spatial and...
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