Estimating rainfall erosivity by aggregated drop size distributions

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Rainfall erosivity is defined as the potential of the rain to cause erosion, and it can be represented by rainfall kinetic power.


At first in this paper, the raindrop size distributions (DSD) measured by an optical disdrometer located at Palermo in the period June 2006–March 2014 and aggregated for intensity classes, are presented.


Then an analysis of raindrop size characteristics is carried out, and the reliability of Ulbrich's distribution, using both the maximum likelihood and momentum estimate parameter methods, is tested. The raindrop size measurements are used to determine the experimental rainfall kinetic power values, which are compared with the ones calculated by a theoretically deduced relationship. This analysis demonstrates that the kinetic power is strictly related to the median volume diameter of DSD.


Finally, the reliability of the simplest Marshall and Palmer exponential DSD for estimating the rainfall kinetic power is demonstrated. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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