Please wait a minute...
Journal of Arid Land  2017, Vol. 9 Issue (2): 234-243    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-017-0009-3
Research Article     
Effects of freeze-thaw on soil erosion processes and sediment selectivity under simulated rainfall
Tian WANG1, Peng LI1, Zongping REN1, Guoce XU1,*(), Zhanbin LI1,2, Yuanyuan YANG1, Shanshan TANG1, Jingwei YAO1
1 State Key Laboratory Base of Eco-Hydraulic Engineering in Arid Area, Xi’an University of Technology
Xi’an 710048, China
2 State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dry-land Farming on the Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water Resources, Yangling 712100, China
Download: HTML     PDF(363KB)
Export: BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      


The freeze-thaw (FT) processes affect an area of 46.3% in China. It is essential for soil and water conservation and ecological construction to elucidate the mechanisms of the FT processes and its associated soil erosion processes.In this research, we designed the control simulation experiments to promote the understanding of FT-water combined erosion processes. The results showed that the runoff of freeze-thaw slope (FTS) decreased by 8% compared to the control slope (CS), and the total sediment yield of the FTS was 1.10 times that of the CS. The sediment yield rate from the FTS was significantly greater than that from the CS after 9 min of runoff (P<0.01). Both in FTS and CS treatments, the relationships between cumulative runoff and sediment yield can be fitted well with power functions(R2>0.98, P<0.01). Significant differences in the mean weight diameter (MWD) values of particles wereobserved for washed particles and splashed particles between the CS and the FTStreatmentsin the erosion process (P<0.05). The mean MWD values under CS were smaller than those under FTS for both washed and splashed particles. The ratio of the absolute value of a regression coefficient between the CS and the FTS was 1.15, being roughly correspondent with the ratio of Kbetween the two treatments. Therefore, the parameter a of the power function between cumulative runoff and sediment yield could be an acceptable indicator for expressing the soil erodibility. In conclusion, the FTS exhibited an increase in soil erosion compared to the CS.

Key wordsfreeze-thaw erosion      loess soil      soil erodibility      runoff      sediment size-selectivity      rainfall simulation     
Received: 29 March 2016      Published: 20 April 2017
Corresponding Authors:
Cite this article:

Tian WANG, Peng LI, Zongping REN, Guoce XU, Zhanbin LI, Yuanyuan YANG, Shanshan TANG, Jingwei YAO. Effects of freeze-thaw on soil erosion processes and sediment selectivity under simulated rainfall. Journal of Arid Land, 2017, 9(2): 234-243.

URL:     OR

1 Asadi H, Ghadiri H, Rose C W, et al.2007a. Interrill soil erosion processes and their interaction on low slopes. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 32(5): 711-724.
2 Asadi H, Ghadiri H, Rose C W, et al.2007b. An investigation of flow-driven soil erosion processes at low streampowers. Journal of Hydrology, 342(1-2): 134-142.
3 Benik S R, Wilson B N, Biesboer D D, et al.2003. Performance of erosion control products on a highway embankment. Transactions of the ASAE, 46(4): 1113-1119.
4 Berger C, Schulze M, Rieke-Zapp D, et al.2010. Rill development and soil erosion: a laboratory study of slope and rainfall intensity. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 35(12): 1456-1467.
5 Cao L X, Liang Y, Wang Y, et al.2015.Runoff and soil loss from Pinusmassoniana forest in southern China after simulatedrainfall. Catena, 129: 1-8.
6 Farenhorst A, Bryan R B.1995. Particle size distribution of sediment transported by shallow flow. Catena, 25(1-4): 47-62.
7 Flanagan D C, Chaudhari K, Norton L D.2002. Polyacrylamide soil amendment effects on runoff and sediment yield on steep slopes: Part I. Simulated rainfall conditions. Transactions of the ASAE, 45(5): 1327-1337.
8 Gatto L W.2000. Soil freeze-thaw-induced changes to a simulated rill: potential impacts on soil erosion. Geomorphology, 32(1-2): 147-160.
9 Giménez R, Govers G.2008. Effects of freshly incorporated straw residue on rill erosion and hydraulics. Catena, 72(2): 214-223.
10 Hunt B, Walmsley T J, Bradshaw A D.1991. Importance of soil physical conditions for urban tree growth. In: Hodge S J. Research for Practical Arboriculture. Forestry Commission Bulletin. London: HMSO, 51-62.
11 Issa O M, Le Bissonnais Y, Planchon O, et al.2006. Soil detachment and transport on field- and laboratory-scale interrill areas: erosion processes and the size-selectivity of eroded sediment. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 31(8): 929-939.
12 Jiang F S, Huang Y H, Lin J S, et al.2014. Effects of slope gradient and rainfall intensity on particle size composition of erosion sediment from colluvial deposits of benggang. ActaPedologicaSinica, 51(5): 974-982. (in Chinese)
13 Jing G C, Ren X P, Liu X J, et al.2008. Relationship between freeze-thaw action and soil moisture for Northeast black soil region of China. Science of Soil and Water Conservation, 6(5): 32-36.(in Chinese)
14 Kirkby M J.1980. Modelling water erosion processes. In: Kirkby M J, Morgan R P C. Soil Erosion. Chichester, Great Britain: Wiley, 183-196.
15 Le Bissonnais Y.1996. Aggregate stability and assessment of soil crustability and erodibility: I. Theory and methodology. European Journal of Soil Science, 47(4): 425-437.
16 Li G Y, Fan H M.2014. Effect of freeze-thaw on water stability of aggregates in a black soil of northeast China.Pedosphere, 24(2): 285-290.
17 Li Q, Liu G B, Xu M G, et al.2013. Effect of seasonal freeze-thaw on soil anti-scouribility and its related physical property in hilly loess plateau. Transactions of the Chinese Society of Agricultural Engineering, 29(17): 105-112. (in Chinese)
18 Meyer L D.1981. How rain intensity affects interrill erosion. Transactions of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, 24(6): 1472-1475.
19 Li Z, Wu P T, Feng H, et al.2009. Simulated experiment on effect of soil bulk density on soil infiltration capacity. Transactions of the CSAE,25(6): 40-44. (in Chinese)
20 Meyer L D.1981. How rain intensity affects interrill erosion. Transactions of the ASAE, 24(6): 1472-1475.
21 Meyer L D, Line D E, Harmon W C.1992. Size characteristics of sediment from agricultural soils. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 47(1): 107-111.
22 ?ygarden L.2000. Soil erosion in small agricultural catchments, South-eastern Norway.PhD Dissertation. Norway: Norwegian University of Agricultural Sciences, 8.
23 Pan C Z, Shangguan Z P.2006. Runoff hydraulic characteristics and sediment generation in sloped grassplots under simulated rainfall conditions. Journal of Hydrology, 331(1-2): 178-185.
24 Ran Q H, Su D Y, Li P, et al.2012. Experimental study of the impact of rainfall characteristics on runoff generation and soil erosion. Journal of Hydrology, 424-425: 99-111.
25 Sahin U, Anapali O.2007. The effect of freeze-thaw cycles on soil aggregate stability in different salinity and sodicity conditions. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 5(3): 431-434.
26 Sharma P P.1996. Interrill erosion. In: Agassi M. Soil Erosion Conservation and Rehabilitation. New York: Marcel Dekker, 125-152.
27 Shi Z H, Fang N F, Wu F Z, et al.2012. Soil erosion processes and sediment sorting associated with transport mechanisms on steep slopes. Journal of Hydrology, 454-455: 123-130.
28 Sutherland R A, Wan Y, Ziegler A D, et al.1996. Splash and wash dynamics: an experimental investigation using an oxisol. Geoderma, 69(1-2): 85-103.
29 Wan Y, El-Swaify S A.1998.Characterizing interrill sediment size by partitioning splash and wash processes. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 62(2): 430-437.
30 Wang B, Zheng F L, R?mkens M J M, et al.2013. Soil erodibility for water erosion: a perspective and Chinese experiences. Geomorphology, 187: 1-10.
31 Wang G Q, Wu B B, Zhang L, et al.2014. Role of soil erodibility in affecting available nitrogen and phosphorus losses under simulated rainfall. Journal of Hydrology, 514: 180-191.
32 Wang L, Tang L L, Wang X, et al.2010. Effects of alley crop planting on soil and nutrient losses in the citrus orchards of the Three Gorges Region. Soil and Tillage Research, 110(2): 243-250.
33 Wang S J.2004. Characteristics of freeze and thaw weathering and its contribution to sediment yield in middle Yellow River Basin. Bulletin of Soil and Water Conservation, 24(6): 1-5. (in Chinese)
34 Wischmeier W H, Johnson C B, Cross B V.1971. A soil erodibility monograph for farmland and construction sites. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 26(5): 189-193.
35 Wischmeier W H, Smith D D.1978. Predicting Rainfall Erosion Losses: A Guide to Conservation Planning.Agriculture Handbook Vol. 537. Washington, D.C: United States Department of Agriculture, 5-8, 58.
36 Xiao P Q, Yao W Y, Shen Z Z, et al.2011.Experimental study on erosion process and hydrodynamics mechanism of alfalfa grassland. Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, 42(2): 232-237. (in Chinese)
37 Xu G C, Li Z B, Li P.2013. Fractal features of soil particle-size distribution and total soil nitrogen distribution in a typical watershed in the source area of the middle Dan River, China. Catena, 101: 17-23.
38 Xu G C, Tang S S, Lu K X, et al.2015. Runoff and sediment yield under simulated rainfall on sand-covered slopes in a region subject to wind-water erosion. Environmental Earth Sciences, 74(3): 2523-2530.
39 Xu X Z, Wang J C, Zhang L X.2001. Geocryology Physics. Beijing: Science Press, 4. (in Chinese)
40 Young R A.1980.Characteristics of eroded sediment. Transactions of the ASAE, 23(5): 1139-1142.
41 Yu D S, Shi X Z, Weindorf D C.2006. Relationships between permeability and erodibility of cultivated acrisols and cambisols in subtropical China.Pedosphere, 16(3): 304-311.
42 Zhang J G, Liu S Z, Yang S Q.2007. The classification and assessment of freeze-thaw erosion in Tibet. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 17(2): 165-174.
43 Zhang L T, Gao Z L, Yang S W, et al.2015. Dynamic processes of soil erosion by runoff on engineered landforms derived from expressway construction: a case study of typical steep spoil heap. Catena, 128: 108-121.
44 Zhao X N, Wu P T, Chen X L, et al.2013. Runoff and sediment yield under simulated rainfall on hillslopes in the loess plateau of China. Soil Research, 51(1): 50-58.
45 Zhu X M, Zhu Y Z.1991. An Introduction to Soil and Environment in Chinese Loess Plateau. Beijing: Science Press, 273-279. (in Chinese)
[1] YANG Wenqian, ZHANG Gangfeng, YANG Huimin, LIN Degen, SHI Peijun. Review and prospect of soil compound erosion[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2023, 15(9): 1007-1022.
[2] WANG Min, CHEN Xi, CAO Liangzhong, KURBAN Alishir, SHI Haiyang, WU Nannan, EZIZ Anwar, YUAN Xiuliang, Philippe DE MAEYER. Correlation analysis between the Aral Sea shrinkage and the Amu Darya River[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2023, 15(7): 757-778.
[3] WANG Xinyu, SU Yu, SUN Yiqiu, ZHANG Yan, GUAN Yinghui, WANG Zhirong, WU Hailong. Sediment yield and erosion-deposition distribution characteristics in ephemeral gullies in black soil areas under geocell protection[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2023, 15(2): 180-190.
[4] ZHANG Yin, GULIMIRE Hanati, SULITAN Danierhan, HU Keke. Monitoring and analysis of snow cover change in an alpine mountainous area in the Tianshan Mountains, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2022, 14(9): 962-977.
[5] WANG Tian, LI Peng, HOU Jingming, TONG Yu, LI Jing, WANG Feng, LI Zhanbin. Transport mechanism of eroded sediment particles under freeze-thaw and runoff conditions[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2022, 14(5): 490-501.
[6] PENG Jiajia, LI Zhongqin, XU Liping, MA Yuqing, LI Hongliang, ZHAO Weibo, FAN Shuang. Glacier mass balance and its impacts on streamflow in a typical inland river basin in the Tianshan Mountains, northwestern China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2022, 14(4): 455-472.
[7] WU Changxue, Xu Ruirui, QIU Dexun, DING Yingying, GAO Peng, MU Xingmin, ZHAO Guangju. Runoff characteristics and its sensitivity to climate factors in the Weihe River Basin from 2006 to 2018[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2022, 14(12): 1344-1360.
[8] WANG Junjie, SHI Bing, ZHAO Enjin, CHEN Xuguang, YANG Shaopeng. Synergistic effects of multiple driving factors on the runoff variations in the Yellow River Basin, China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(8): 835-857.
[9] WANG Yuejian, GU Xinchen, YANG Guang, YAO Junqiang, LIAO Na. Impacts of climate change and human activities on water resources in the Ebinur Lake Basin, Northwest China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(6): 581-598.
[10] Alexandre C COSTA, Alvson B S ESTACIO, Francisco de A de SOUZA FILHO, Iran E LIMA NETO. Monthly and seasonal streamflow forecasting of large dryland catchments in Brazil[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(3): 205-223.
[11] ZHANG Yongkun, HUANG Mingbin. Spatial variability and temporal stability of actual evapotranspiration on a hillslope of the Chinese Loess Plateau[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(2): 189-204.
[12] KANG Yongde, HUANG Miansong, HOU Jingming, TONG Yu, PAN Zhanpeng. Two-dimensional hydrodynamic robust numerical model of soil erosion based on slopes and river basins[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(10): 995-1014.
[13] Sanim BISSENBAYEVA, Jilili ABUDUWAILI, Assel SAPAROVA, Toqeer AHMED. Long-term variations in runoff of the Syr Darya River Basin under climate change and human activities[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(1): 56-70.
[14] SU Yuanyi, LI Peng, REN Zongping, XIAO Lie, ZHANG Hui. Freeze-thaw effects on erosion process in loess slope under simulated rainfall[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2020, 12(6): 937-949.
[15] LIU Qianjin, MA Liang, ZHANG Hanyu. Applying seepage modeling to improve sediment yield predictions in contour ridge systems[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2020, 12(4): 676-689.