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Projected climate change impacts in rainfall erosivity over Brazil

André Almagro, Paulo Tarso Oliveira, Mark Nearing, Stefan Hagemann
Scientific reports 2017 v.7 no.1 pp. 1-12
climate change, climate models, environmental impact, rain, soil conservation, soil map, water conservation, water erosion, Brazil
The impacts of climate change on soil erosion may bring serious economic, social and environmental problems. However, few studies have investigated these impacts on continental scales. Here we assessed the influence of climate change on rainfall erosivity across Brazil. We used observed rainfall data and downscaled climate model output based on Hadley Center Global Environment Model version 2 (HadGEM2-ES) and Model for Interdisciplinary Research On Climate version 5 (MIROC5), forced by Representative Concentration Pathway 4.5 and 8.5, to estimate and map rainfall erosivity and its projected changes across Brazil. We estimated mean values of 10,437 mm ha-1 h-1 year-1 for observed data (1980-2013) and 10,089 MJ mm ha-1 h-1 year-1 and 10,585 MJ mm ha-1 h-1 year-1 for HadGEM2-ES and MIROC5, respectively (1961-2005). Our analysis suggests that the most affected regions, with projected rainfall erosivity increases ranging up to 109% in the period 2007-2040, are northeastern and southern Brazil. Future decreases of as much as -71% in the 2071-2099 period were estimated for the southeastern, central and northwestern parts of the country. Our results provide an overview of rainfall erosivity in Brazil that may be useful for planning soil and water conservation, and for promoting water and food security.