Search National Agricultural Library Digital Collections

NALDC Record Details:

Evolution of a Linear Variable Intensity Rainfall Simulator for Surface Hydrology and Erosion Studies

Permanent URL:
Download [PDF File]
Because of wind erosion during the dust bowl era of the early 1930s in the central United States, Congress appropriated federal funding to study the problem and find ways that protect the land from all forms of erosion. Afterwards, a series of erosion stations were established across the eastern United States, and natural rainfall-runoff plots were placed on a wide range of soils, slopes, and cropping/management systems. The data collected from these studies served as the basis for developing the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) for rain-induced erosion which is still, in its revised form, the basis for determining "highly erodible lands" for various USDA programs. Because of the expense of maintaining USLE plots, and the extreme variability in the research data, they were discontinued, and most research since the 1950s in water erosion has focused on using rainfall simulators to quantify differences in erosion from all the variables of the USLE, and refining other parameters, such as factors K and C. The simulators used over the last 60 years have varied widely in design and functionality, but paid little or no attention to the type of water used to conduct the simulation. The objective of this article is to describe relevant advances in the historical development of simulator technology in the United States and describe principal design improvements that allow them to be used in a wider range of rainfall-runoff and erosion studies. This article will also describe the most recent portable simulator developed at the National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory.
Norton, L.D. , Savabi, R.
Includes references
Applied engineering in agriculture 2010, v. 26, no. 2
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
Works produced by employees of the U.S. Government as part of their official duties are not copyrighted within the U.S. The content of this document is not copyrighted.