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The effect of soil type, meteorological forcing and slope gradient on the simulation of internal erosion processes at the local scale

Abstract : Numerical simulation experiments of water erosion at the local scale (20 × 5 m) using a process-based model [Plot Soil Erosion Model_2D (PSEM_2D)] were carried out to test the effects of various environmental factors (soil type, meteorological forcing and slope gradient) on the runoff and erosion response and to determine the dominant processes that control the sediment yield at various slope lengths. The selected environmental factors corresponded to conditions for which the model had been fully tested beforehand. The use of a Green and Ampt model for infiltration explained the dominant role played by rainfall intensity in the runoff response. Sediment yield at the outlet of the simulated area was correlated positively with rainfall intensity and slope gradient, but was less sensitive to soil type. The relationship between sediment yield (soil loss per unit area) and slope length was greatly influenced by all environmental factors, but there was a general tendency towards higher sediment yield when the slope was longer. Contribution of rainfall erosion to gross erosion was dominant for all surfaces with slope lengths ranging from 4 to 20 m. The highest sediment yields corresponded to cases where flow erosion was activated. An increase in slope gradient resulted in flow detachment starting upstream. Sediment exported at the outlet of the simulated area came predominantly from the zone located near the outlet. The microrelief helped in the development of a rill network that controlled both the ratio between rainfall and flow erosion and the relationship between sediment yield and slope length. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, February 9, 2011 - 4:23:02 PM
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Guillaume Nord, Michel Esteves. The effect of soil type, meteorological forcing and slope gradient on the simulation of internal erosion processes at the local scale. Hydrological Processes, Wiley, 2010, 24 (13), pp.1766-1780. ⟨10.1002/HYP.7613⟩. ⟨insu-00564674⟩

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