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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » National Soil Erosion Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #195155


item Norton, Lloyd

Submitted to: Biennial Conference on Stormwater Research and Watershed Management
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/28/2006
Publication Date: 5/1/2006
Citation: Norton, L.D. 2006. A linear variable intensity rainfall simulator for erosion studies. In: Wanielista, M., Smoot, J., editors. Proceedings of the 2nd Biennial Stormwater Management Research Symposium, May 4-5, 2006, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida. p. 93-103.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: As a result of the dust bowl in the Central USA during the early 1930’s, Congress appropriated funding to study the problem and find ways to protect the land. A series of erosion stations were established across the Eastern USA and natural runoff plots on a wide range of soils, slopes and cropping/management systems, were monitored. The data collected from these studies served as the basis for developing the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) for rainfed erosion which is still, in revised form, the basis for determining “highly erodible land” 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 1950’s in water erosion has focused on using rainfall simulators to quantify differences in erosion from all the variables of the USLE and other parameters. The simulators used over the last 60 years have varied widely in design and functionality and paid little or no attention to the type of water used to conduct the simulation. The objective of this paper is to describe some of the historical development of simulator technology in the USA and describe some recent advances in design that allow them to be used in a wider range of erosion studies. This paper will also describe the most recent portable simulator developed at the National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory.