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Monthly Rainfall Erosivity: Conversion Factors for Different Time Resolutions and Regional Assessments

Abstract: 
As a follow up and an advancement of the recently published Rainfall Erosivity Database at European Scale (REDES) and the respective mean annual R-factor map, the monthly aspect of rainfall erosivity has been added to REDES. Rainfall erosivity is crucial to be considered at a monthly resolution, for the optimization of land management (seasonal variation of vegetation cover and agricultural support practices) as well as natural hazard protection (landslides and flood prediction). We expanded REDES by 140 rainfall stations, thus covering areas where monthly R-factor values were missing (Slovakia, Poland) or former data density was not satisfactory (Austria, France, and Spain). The different time resolutions (from 5 to 60 min) of high temporal data require a conversion of monthly R-factor based on a pool of stations with available data at all time resolutions. Because the conversion factors show smaller monthly variability in winter (January: 1.54) than in summer (August: 2.13), applying conversion factors on a monthly basis is suggested. The estimated monthly conversion factors allow transferring the R-factor to the desired time resolution at a European scale. The June to September period contributes to 53% of the annual rainfall erosivity in Europe, with different spatial and temporal patterns depending on the region. The study also investigated the heterogeneous seasonal patterns in different regions of Europe: on average, the Northern and Central European countries exhibit the largest R-factor values in summer, while the Southern European countries do so from October to January. In almost all countries (excluding Ireland, United Kingdom and North France), the seasonal variability of rainfall erosivity is high. Very few areas (mainly located in Spain and France) show the largest from February to April. The average monthly erosivity density is very large in August (1.67) and July (1.63), while very small in January and February (0.37). This study addresses the need to develop monthly calibration factors for seasonal estimation of rainfall erosivity and presents the spatial patterns of monthly rainfall erosivity in European Union and Switzerland. Moreover, the study presents the regions and seasons under threat of rainfall erosivity.