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A (small) step towards standardisation in rainfall simulation experiments

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ross Stirling



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Rainfall simulation is widely used within hydrological and geomorphological sciences and isparticularly important in the study of rainfall-runoff, erosion and pollutant transport processes.Rainfall simulators have been applied within laboratory- and field-based studies and have theadvantages of enabling controlled and reproducible rainfall event characteristics in relation torainfall intensity, duration, and drop spectra. The flexibility and advantages of using rainfallsimulators to study a wide range of research objectives has resulted in significant diversity in thetype, sizing, form, operation and methodologies of rainfall simulators, and an extensive review ofrainfall simulator research has led to more than 250 different rainfall simulator setups beingidentified in the literature. Rainfall simulators come in all different shapes and sizes!The adaptability of rainfall simulators to study a wide range of research areas of varying scaleultimately results in several issues when comparing results and outputs obtained from differentsimulator setups. In fact, comparisons between studies can be very difficult, if not impossible, asthe different measurement methods, artificial rainfall event characteristics and test conditionsresult in considerable difficulties when benchmarking results and findings obtained from rainfallsimulation experiments. Thus, the scientific community should establish set methodologicalprocedures to allow comparisons between results obtained from different rainfall simulatorsetups. Harmonization of basic procedures in rainfall simulator based studies in the fields ofhydrological and geomorphological sciences would ensure that results between different rainfallsimulator studies are comparable, standardised and regulated. The first step in this processinvolves standardising rainfall simulators design characteristics, whereas further steps shouldfocus on measurement methods and metrics so results can be compared.This paper aims to bring together current understanding on the use of rainfall simulators withinhydrological and geomorphological research, and provide a platform to discuss and enhance understanding of the requirements on the standardisation of rainfall simulator based experimental research. This paper also aims to establish an international research community focused on advancing standardisation in rainfall simulation based at different research facilities and institutes, and will kick-start discussions leading up to a future international symposium dealing with these issues (date TBC). Everyone is invited to join this (small) step towardsstandardisation in rainfall simulation!

Publication metadata

Author(s): Isidoro J, Pattison I, Iserloh T, de Lima J, Green D, Marzen M, de Lima I, Silveira A, Stirling R

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: European Geophysical Union General Assembly

Year of Conference: 2020

Online publication date: 08/05/2020

Acceptance date: 31/01/2020

Date deposited: 11/05/2020

Publisher: Copernicus GmbH


DOI: 10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-18556