This study examines the relationship between gully erosion in channels, sidewalls, and interfluves, and precipitation parameters (duration, total accumulation, average intensity, and maximum intensity) annually and seasonally to determine seasonal drivers for precipitation-related erosion. Ordinary Least Square regression models of erosion using precipitation and antecedent precipitation at weekly lags of up to twelve weeks were developed for three erosion variables for each of three geomorphic areas: channels, interfluves, and sidewalls (nine models in total). Erosion was most pronounced in winter months, followed by spring, indicating the influence of high-intensity precipitation from frontal systems and repeated freeze-thaw cycles in winter; erosion in summer was driven by high-intensity precipitation from convectional storms. Annually, duration was the most important driver for erosion, however, during winter and summer months, precipitation intensity was dominant. Seasonal models retained average and maximum precipitation as drivers for erosion in winter months (dominated by frontal systems), and retained maximum precipitation intensity as a driver for erosion in summer months (dominated by convectional storms). In channels, precipitation duration was the dominant driver for erosion due to runoff-related erosion, while in sidewalls and interfluves intensity parameters were equally important as duration, likely related to rain splash erosion. These results show that the character of precipitation, which varies seasonally, is an important driver for gully erosion and that studies of precipitation-driven erosion should consider partitioning data by season to identify these drivers.
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Luffman, Ingrid; and Nandi, Arpita. 2020. Seasonal Precipitation Variability and Gully Erosion in Southeastern USA. Water (Switzerland). Vol.12(4). https://doi.org/10.3390/W12040925