Introducing seasonal snow memory into the RUSLE

The University of Stuttgart have incorporated seasonal snow memory into the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) and combined it with the SEdiment Delivery Distributed (SEDD) model in a recent scientific publication. The inclusion of snow-related processes, especially the separation of non-erosive snowfall from erosive snowmelt, was found to greatly enhance model accuracy. These results represent a major improvement for estimating suspended sediment loads, especially in data-sparse regions, further enhanced by the use of freely available satellite imagery and climate reanalysis datasets. These results are important for DIRT-X applications as long-term predictions of bathymetric change, necessary when modeling climate change scenarios, will require an objective calculation procedure for the sediment load as a function of a catchment’s specific characteristics and hydroclimatic features.

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A photo of an avalanche cone.
Figure: Avalanche cones from Tyrol, Austria. Photo curtesy of Sebastian Schwindt.

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