Measurement and computation of kinetic energy of simulated rainfall in comparison with natural rainfall

https://doi.org/10.17221/218/2016-SWRCitation:Petrů J., Kalibová J. (2018): Measurement and computation of kinetic energy of simulated rainfall in comparison with natural rainfall. Soil & Water Res., 13: 226-233.
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Rainfall characteristics such as total amount and rainfall intensity (I) are important inputs in calculating the kinetic energy (KE) of rainfall. Although KE is a crucial indicator of the raindrop potential to disrupt soil aggregates, it is not a routinely measured meteorological parameter. Therefore, KE is derived from easily accessible variables, such as I, in empirical laws. The present study examines whether the equations which had been derived to calculate KE of natural rainfall are suitable for the calculation of KE of simulated rainfall. During the experiment presented in this paper, the measurement of rainfall characteristics was carried out under laboratory conditions using a rainfall simulator. In total, 90 measurements were performed and evaluated to describe the rainfall intensity, drop size distribution and velocity of rain drops using the Thies laser disdrometer. The duration of each measurement of rainfall event was 5 minutes. Drop size and fall velocity were used to calculate KE and to derive a new equation of time-specific kinetic energy (KEtimeI). When comparing the newly derived equation for KE of simulated rainfall with the six most commonly used equations for KEtimeI of natural rainfall, KE of simulated rainfall was discovered to be underestimated. The higher the rainfall intensity, the higher the rate of underestimation. KE of natural rainfall derived from theoretical equations exceeded KE of simulated rainfall by 53–83% for I = 30 mm/h and by 119–275% for I = 60 mm/h. The underestimation of KE of simulated rainfall is probably caused by smaller drops formed by the rainfall simulator at higher intensities (94% of all drops were smaller than 1 mm), which is not typical of natural rainfall.

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