Are soil erosion rates currently higher than they’ve ever been?



  1. 0 Votes

    This is a great question, but one that is tricky to answer, as global, continental or even watershed based rates of soil erosion are challenging to measure. And in order to accurately answer your question, we would need data not only from today, but throughout time to know how today’s rates of soil erosion compare to previous years and into deep history.


    However, there are several reasons (sans specific data) to think that yes, soil erosion rates are higher now than they have been at least in last few hundred years. For example, the extent of land use change on the earth’s surface is greater now than it has been in human history. As human cut down forests and plow up more fields, the rate of soil erosion increases as the vegetation that once held the soil in place is removed.


    Also, it is predicted that with climate change, there will a more aggressive hydrological cycle, with greater and heavier rainfalls in certain areas. With warmer temperatures, more water will evaporate from the ocean and then fall onto land. Water plays a key role as an eroding agent, and so it is thought (and has already been observed) that with increasing temperatures, soil erosion will increase as well.


    Hope this helps some.

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