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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-460
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-460
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 16 Oct 2019

Submitted as: research article | 16 Oct 2019

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

Physically-based model for gully simulation: application to the Brazilian Semiarid Region

Pedro Henrique Lima Alencar1,2, José Carlos de Araújo2, and Adunias dos Santos Teixeira2 Pedro Henrique Lima Alencar et al.
  • 1TU Berlin, Institut für Ökologie, 10587 Berlin, Germany
  • 2Federal University of Ceará, Departamento de Engenharia Agrícola, Fortaleza, Brazil

Abstract. Gullies are one of the most relevant erosion processes, connected to land degradation and desertification, in special in arid and semiarid regions. Despite its role, gully erosion is neglected by many models and researches. This study presents a physically-based model for small permanent gullies, typical in the Brazilian Semiarid Region. The model consists of coupling two previous models, those by Foster and Lane (1983) and Sidorchuk (1999). As both models require input data of peak discharge and duration, different rain intensities were tested. The rain intensity that suited gully erosion modelling best was the 30-minute intensity. The Foster and Lane model supplied a better response for smaller areas, where bed-channel erosion is more pronounced. The Sidorchuk model presented a better performance in larger sections, where wall erosion becomes more prominent. The experimental area is located in the semiarid State of Ceará, Brazil, in which the land use is characterised by agriculture and livestock. We measured and modelled three gullies ageing almost six decades. The threshold between the prevailing domains of each process (channel bed or wall erosion) is based on the cross-section area; and it is intrinsically connected to wall erosion: for the case study, the threshold area was approximately 2 m2. The final model, hereby called FL-SM (Foster & Lane and Sidorchuk Model) performed very well, with Nash–Sutcliffe coefficient of 0.846.

Pedro Henrique Lima Alencar et al.
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Pedro Henrique Lima Alencar et al.
Data sets

GullyModel-FLSM P. Alencar https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3485064

Model code and software

GullyModel-FLSM P. Alencar https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3485064

Pedro Henrique Lima Alencar et al.
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Short summary
Understand to preserve. Environmental awareness is reaching all global community, and it is urgent to understand land degradation and to gather efforts to answer fundamental questions, such as how and why such processes happen. Here, we present a model for gully erosion (channels carved by rainwater), based on existing equations; and identify some major variables that influence this process initiation and evolution. The successful model can help in planning soil conservation practices.
Understand to preserve. Environmental awareness is reaching all global community, and it is...
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