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Corresponding Author

Xihua Yang

Abstract

Rainfall changes have significant effect on rainfall erosivity and hillslope erosion, but the magnitude of the impact is not well quantified because of the lack of high resolution rainfall data. Recently, the 2-km rainfall projections from regional climate models have become available for the Greater Sydney Region (GSR) at daily time step for the current (1990-2009) and future (2040-2059) periods. These climate projections allow predicting of rainfall erosivity changes and the associated hillslope erosion risk for climate change assessment and mitigation.

In this study, we developed a daily rainfall erosivity model for GSR to predict rainfall erosivity from the current and future daily rainfall data. We produced time-series hillslope erosion risk maps using the revised universal soil loss equations on monthly and annual bases for the two contrasting periods. These products were spatially interpolated to a fine resolution (100 m) useful for climate impact assessment and erosion risk mitigation. The spatial variation was assessed based on the state plan regions and the temporal variation on monthly and annual bases. These processes have been implemented in a geographic information system so that they are automated, fast, and repeatable. Our prediction shows relatively good correlation with point-based Pluviograph calculation on rainfall erosivity and the previous study (both R2 and Ec > 0.70). The results indicate that hillslope erosion risk is likely to increase 10-60% in the GSR within the next 50 years, and changes are greater in the coastal and the Blue Mountains, particularly in late summer (January and February). The methodology developed in this study is being extended to south-east Australia.

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