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Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-2016-76
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
23 Jan 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics (NPG).
Quantifying the changes of soil surface microroughness due to rainfall-induced erosion on a smooth surface
Benjamin K. B. Abban1, A. N. Thanos Papanicolaou1,5, Christos P. Giannopoulos1, Dimitrios C. Dermisis2, Kenneth M. Wacha3, Christopher G. Wilson1, and Mohamed Elhakeem4 1Hydraulics and Sedimentation Lab, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Tennessee – Knoxville, Knoxville, TN 37996 USA
2College of Engineering, Department of Chemical, Civil & Mechanical Engineering, McNeese State University, Lake Charles, LA 70605 USA
3USDA - ARS – National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, Ames, IA 50011 USA
4Abu Dhabi University, Abu Dhabi, P.O. Box 59911, United Arab Emirates
5Tennessee Water Resources Center, Knoxville, TN 37996 USA
Abstract. This study examines the rainfall induced change in soil microroughness of a bare soil surface in agricultural landscapes. The focus is on the quantification of roughness length under the action of rainfall for initial microroughness length scales of 2 mm or less, defined here as initial smooth surface conditions. These conditions have not been extensively examined in the literature as most studies have focused on initial disturbed surface conditions (bed surface conditions with initial length scales greater than 2 mm and varying between 5–50 mm). Three representative intensities namely 30 mm/h, 60 mm/h and 75 mm/h were applied over a smoothened bed surface at a field plot via a rainfall simulator. Soil surface microroughness measurements were obtained via a surface-profile laser scanner. Two indices were utilized to quantify soil surface microroughness, namely the Random Roughness (RR) index and the crossover length. Findings show a consistent increase in roughness under the action of rainfall for initial microroughness length scales of 2 mm. This contradicts existing literature where a monotonic decay of roughness of soil surfaces with rainfall is recorded for disturbed surfaces. Analysis shows that on an average the RR and the crossover length post run increase by a multiple of 3.15 and 1.9, respectively from their corresponding values apriori the runs.

Citation: Abban, B. K. B., Papanicolaou, A. N. T., Giannopoulos, C. P., Dermisis, D. C., Wacha, K. M., Wilson, C. G., and Elhakeem, M.: Quantifying the changes of soil surface microroughness due to rainfall-induced erosion on a smooth surface, Nonlin. Processes Geophys. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-2016-76, in review, 2017.
Benjamin K. B. Abban et al.
Benjamin K. B. Abban et al.
Benjamin K. B. Abban et al.

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Short summary
We examine rainfall-induced change in soil microroughness of bare soil surfaces in agricultural landscapes with initial microroughness length scales of 2 mm or less. Past studies have focused on scales between 5–50 mm. A rainfall simulator is used. Microroughness measurements are obtained via a laser scanner. Findings show a consistent increase in roughness under rainfall action for initial length scales of 2 mm. This contradicts existing literature where a monotonic decay of roughness is recorded.
We examine rainfall-induced change in soil microroughness of bare soil surfaces in agricultural...
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