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Soil Themes > Soil Erosion > Erosion in Alps (ClimChAlp) > Soil Erosion in the Alps(RUSLE)

The Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) was applied to the whole alpine space, with a specific setting on mountain areas for slope and rain erosivity parameters.
Spatial resolution: 100m

RUSLE estimates erosion by means of an Empirical Equation:

A = R * K* L * S* C* P

Where:
A = (Annual) soil Loss (t ha-1 yr-1).
R = Rainfall Erosivity Factor (MJ mm ha-1 h-1 yr-). Download the R (Rainfall Erovisity Factor 1960 - 1990)
K = Soil Erodibility Factor (t ha h ha-1 MJ-1 mm-1). Download the K (Soil Erodibily Factor).
L = Slope length Factor (dimensionless)
S = Slope Factor (dimensionless) . Download the LS (Slope and Slope Lenght Factors)
C = Cover Management Factor (dimensionless) . Download the K (Cover Management Factor) .
P = Human Practices aimed at erosion control (dimensionless) .


Among the different components of the soil loss equation the rainfall erosivity factor is one of the most difficult to derive due to the difficulty to obtain rainfall data with adequate temporal resolution over large areas. There are limited applications of algorithms in the entire Alpine area and there is no consensus over which are the most appropriate algorithms for the R factor computation.

A statistical analysis was hence carried out to estimate the degree of correlation (correlation coefficient [R2] and Root Mean Square Error [RMSE]) between R factor values computed by means of EI30 or using simplified formulas. The analysis was carried out on rainfall data of the Veneto Region with high temporal resolution available for 42 meteorological stations within the alpine area.

None of the formulas we tested can be considered perfectly suitable for a quantitative estimation of erosion in the alpine area. The lack of data with adequate resolution forced us to apply the best suitable formula among them.

We decided hence to apply the Lo et al. (1985) and Arnoldus (1980) equations to calculate the R factor of the RUSLE. The Lo et al. algorithm has the highest correlation (R2) with EI30 but gives a systematic over-estimation of the soil erosion risk rate. Compared to Lo's equation, the Arnoldus (1980) formula shows a lower RMSE value but its R2 is inferior and its trend inconstant: the higher the R (EI30) values, the higher are the errors. The maximum error caused by Arnoldus is higher than the one using Lo's equation.
But based on the wide application of Arnoldus's formula we decided to use both formulas:
Arnoldus: R = [(4.17*F)-152] , Where F is the Fournier's Index modified by Arnoldus
Lo et al.: R = [38.46+(3.48*P)] , Where P is the Average annual rainfalls.

Find below the maps according to both formulas of R:

Map (using the R Factor according to Lo et Al.)

Title: Soil Erosion in the Alps


Background Introduction: This map shows the actual rate of soil erosion by water in the alpine territory. This map is derived from the RUSLE model which calculates the actual sediment loss by soil erosion. The index values indicate the intensity of the change in the soil erosion rate.

Spatial coverage: Alps (Italy, Switzerland, France, Austria, Germany, Slovenia).


Pixel size: 100m


Projection: ETRS89 Lambert Azimuthal Equal Area


Input data source: Climatic data - The rainfall measurement data have been provided by the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) of Trieste. These data are the output of a prevision model of the climatic change (RegCM, Regional Climate Model), that provides the daily rainfall values for the years 1960 – 1990.
Soil data - European Soil Database
Land use - CORINE Land Cover 1990 and 2000
Topography - DEM SRTM (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission) has been used. The resolution of the DEM is 90 m.
Model used : RUSLE (Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation)

Information: Ezio Rusco, Luca Montanarella & Panos Panagos
European Commission, Institute of Environment and Sustainability, Land Management and Natural Hazards Unit, Ispra, Italy.
Email: panos.panagos@jrc.ec.europa.eu
Claudio Bosco & Stefano Oliveri
CRASL - Universita Catolica del Sacro Cuore (Italy)

Download the map (Various Formats / Resolutions):
Soil Erosion in the Alps (Format: PDF, Size: 12.8 MB, Resolution: High 300 dpi)
Soil Erosion in the Alps (Format: JPEG, Size: 7MB, Resolution: Low 100 dpi)
Soil Erosion in the Alps (Format: KML, Size: 1.2 MB, Resolution: Low)

Soil Erosion in the Alps (Format: KML, Size: 7.8 MB, unzipped 74 MB, Resolution: Highest)


Find below the Maps where the Actual Erosion in the Alps is compared Versus Soil Erosion in A2 and B2 Scenarios:

 


Map (using the R Factor according to Arnoldus)

Title: Soil Erosion in the Alps


Background Introduction: This map shows the rate of soil erosion by water in the alpine territory. This map is derived from the RUSLE model which calculates the actual sediment loss by soil erosion using the Arnoldus's formula to determine the rainfall erosivity factor. The index values indicate the intensity of the soil erosion rate.

Spatial coverage: Alps (Italy, Switzerland, France, Austria, Germany, Slovenia).


Pixel size: 100m


Projection: ETRS89 Lambert Azimuthal Equal Area


Input data source: Climatic data - The rainfall measurement data have been provided by the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) of Trieste. These data are the output of a prevision model of the climatic change (RegCM, Regional Climate Model), that provides the daily rainfall values for the years 1960 – 1990.
Soil data - European Soil Database
Land use - CORINE Land Cover 1990 and 2000
Topography - DEM SRTM (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission) has been used. The resolution of the DEM is 90 m.
Model used : RUSLE (Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation)

Information: Ezio Rusco, Luca Montanarella & Panos Panagos
European Commission, Institute of Environment and Sustainability, Land Management and Natural Hazards Unit, Ispra, Italy.
Email: panos.panagos@jrc.ec.europa.eu
Claudio Bosco & Stefano Oliveri
CRASL - Universita Catolica del Sacro Cuore (Italy)

Download the map (Various Formats / Resolutions):
Soil Erosion in the Alps (Format: PDF, Size: 9.4 MB, Resolution: High 300 dpi)
Soil Erosion in the Alps (Format: JPEG, Size: 6 MB, Resolution: Low 100 dpi)
Soil Erosion in the Alps (Format: KML, Size: 1.2 MB, Resolution: Low)



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© European Communities, 1995-
Last updated:

European Commission - Joint Research Centre
Institute for Environment and Sustainability
Contacts:
Marc Van Liedekerke(tel. +39-0332-785179)
Panos Panagos (tel. +39-0332-785574)