Assessment of soil erosion risk and its response to climate change in the mid-Yarlung Tsangpo River region.


Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China. [Email]


Soil erosion is sensitive to climate change, especially in high mountain areas. The Tibetan Plateau has experienced dramatic land surface environment changes under the impact of climate change during the last decades. In this study, we focused on the mid-Yarlung Tsangpo River (MYZ River) located in the southern part of the Tibetan Plateau. The revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE) was applied to assess soil erosion risk. To increase its applicability to high mountain areas with longer periods of snowfall, snowmelt runoff erosivity was considered in addition to rainfall erosivity. Results revealed that soil erosion of the MYZ River region was of a moderate grade with an average soil erosion rate of 29.1 t ha-1 year-1 and most serious erosion in wet and cold years. Soil erosion rate in the MYZ River region showed a decreasing trend of - 1.14% year-1 due to the precipitation, temperature, and vegetation changes from 2001 to 2015, with decreasing precipitation being the most important factor. Increasing precipitation and temperature would lead to increasing soil erosion risk in ~ 2050 based on the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) and RUSLE models. It is clear that soil erosion in high mountain areas greatly depends on climate state and attentions should be paid to address soil erosion problem in the future.


Climatic impacts,Erosion prediction,MYZ River region,RUSLE,Soil erosion,

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