Future rainfall erosivity (projections for 2050 based on climate change)

The two dynamic factors in soil erosion modelling are a) rainfall erosivity and b) and land cover change. The policy requests to develop trends in soil erosion changes can be responded developing modelling scenarios on those two most dynamic factors. The recently developed Rainfall Erosivity Database at European Scale (REDES) and a statistical approach used to spatially interpolate rainfall erosivity data have the potential to become useful knowledge to predict future rainfall erosivity based on climate scenarios. The use of a thorough statistical modelling approach (Gaussian Process Regression), with the selection of the most appropriate covariates (monthly  precipitation, temperature datasets and bioclimatic layers), allowed to predict the rainfall erosivity based on climate change scenarios. The mean rainfall erosivity for the European Union and Switzerland is projected to be 857 MJ mm ha-1 h-1yr-1 till 2050 showing a relative increase of 18% compared to baseline data (2010).The changes are heterogeneous in the European continent depending on the future projections of most erosive months (hot period: April–September). The output results report a pan-European projection of future rainfall erosivity taking into account the uncertainties of the climatic models.

The rainfall erosivity in 2050 was modelled based on on a moderate climate change scenario (HadGEM RCP 4.5) and using as main data sources the REDES based European R-factors and as covariates the WorldClim climatic datasets. Although the rainfall erosivity projections are based on many uncertainties, this pan-European spatial estimation highlights the areas where rainfall erosivity is projected to undergo substantial changes. The predicted mean increase in R-factor is expected also to increase the threat of soil erosion in Europe. However, climate change might substantially affect land cover and land use, which might counterbalance or enhance some erosional trends. The most prominent increases of R-factors are predicted for North-Central Europe, the English Channel, The Netherlands and Northern France. On the contrary, parts of the Mediterranean basin show a decrease of rainfall erosivity.


  • Rainfall erosivity in Europe & Switzerland is estimated to increase by 18% in 2050.
  • Rainfall erosivity will increase in 81% of the study area and decrease in the rest.
  • R-factor projections include the uncertainty of climatic models.
  • Highest R-factor increase is projected in Northern & Central Europe.
  • Erosivity is a driver for soil erosion, floods, natural hazards & land use change

Panagos, P., Ballabio, C., Meusburger, K., Spinoni, J., Alewell, C., Borrelli, P. 2017. Towards estimates of future rainfall erosivity in Europe based on REDES and WorldClim datasets. Journal of Hydrology, 548: 251-262. 


Download the Future 2050 raifnall erosivity (and Monthly, seasonal erosivity datasets and the composite indicators plus REDES) described above from: http://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/content/rainfall-erosivity-european-union-and-switzerland


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