Relationship of Weather Types on the Seasonal and Spatial Variability of Rainfall, Runoff, and Sediment Yield in the Western Mediterranean Basin

Peña-Angulo, D.Nadal-Romero, E.González-Hidalgo, J.C.Albaladejo, J.Andreu, V.Bahri, H.Bernal, S.Biddoccu, M.Bienes, R.Campo, J.Campo-Bescós, M.A.Canatário-Duarte, A.Cantón, Y.Casali, J.Castillo, V.Cavallo, E.Cerdà, A.Cid, P.Cortesi, N.Desir, G.Díaz-Pereira, E.Espigares, T.Estrany, J.Farguell, J.Fernández-Raga, M.Ferreira, C.S.Ferro, V.Gallart, F.Giménez, R.Gimeno, E.Gómez, J.A.Gómez-Gutiérrez, A.Gómez-Macpherson, H.González-Pelayo, O.Kairis, O.Karatzas, G.P.Keesstra, S.Klotz, S.Kosmas, C.Lana-Renault, N.Lasanta, T.Latron, J.Lázaro, R.Le Bissonnais, Y.Le Bouteiller, C.Licciardello, F.López-Tarazón, J.A.Lucía, A.Marín-Moreno, V.M.Marín, C.Marqués, M.J.Martínez-Fernández, J.Martínez-Mena, M.Mateos, L.Mathys, N.Merino-Martín, L.Moreno-de las Heras, M.Moustakas, N.Nicolau, J.M.Pampalone, V.Raclot, D.Rodríguez-Blanco, M.L.Rodrigo-Comino, J.Romero-Díaz, A.Ruiz-Sinoga, J.D.Rubio, J.L.Schnabel, S.Senciales-González, J.M.Solé-Benet, A.Taguas, E.V.Taboada-Castro, M.T.Taboada-Castro, M.M.Todisco, F.Úbeda, X.Varouchakis, E.A.Wittenberg, L.Zabaleta, A.Zorn, M.  Atmosphere 11 (6): 609 (2020)  DIGITAL CSIC 

Rainfall is the key factor to understand soil erosion processes, mechanisms, and rates. Most research was conducted to determine rainfall characteristics and their relationship with soil erosion (erosivity) but there is little information about how atmospheric patterns control soil losses, and this is important to enable sustainable environmental planning and risk prevention. We investigated the temporal and spatial variability of the relationships of rainfall, runoff, and sediment yield with atmospheric patterns (weather types, WTs) in the western Mediterranean basin. For this purpose, we analyzed a large database of rainfall events collected between 1985 and 2015 in 46 experimental plots and catchments with the aim to: (i) evaluate seasonal differences in the contribution of rainfall, runoff, and sediment yield produced by the WTs; and (ii) to analyze the seasonal efficiency of the different WTs (relation frequency and magnitude) related to rainfall, runoff, and sediment yield. The results indicate two different temporal patterns: the first weather type exhibits (during the cold period: autumn and winter) westerly flows that produce the highest rainfall, runoff, and sediment yield values throughout the territory; the second weather type exhibits easterly flows that predominate during the warm period (spring and summer) and it is located on the Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula. However, the cyclonic situations present high frequency throughout the whole year with a large influence extended around the western Mediterranean basin. Contrary, the anticyclonic situations, despite of its high frequency, do not contribute significantly to the total rainfall, runoff, and sediment (showing the lowest efficiency) because of atmospheric stability that currently characterize this atmospheric pattern. Our approach helps to better understand the relationship of WTs on the seasonal and spatial variability of rainfall, runoff and sediment yield with a regional scale based on the large dataset and number of soil erosion experimental stations.