Circulation weather types as a key factor on runoff initiation and sediment detachment in Mediterranean shrublands


  • Jesús Rodrigo-Comino Departamento de Análisis Geográfico Regional y Geografía Física, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Campus Universitario de Cartuja, Universidad de Granada, 18071 Granada, España
  • José María Senciales Department of Geography, Málaga University, Campus of Teatinos s/n, 29071 Málaga, Spain.
  • Ana Pérez Albarracín Soil Erosion and Degradation Research Group. Department of Geography, Valencia University, Blasco Ibàñez, 28, 46010 Valencia, Spain
  • Erick Bandala Division of Hydrologic Sciences, Desert Research Institute. 755 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, Nevada, 89119, USA
  • Francisco Escrivá Saneugenio 3Soil Erosion and Degradation Research Group. Department of Geography, Valencia University
  • Saskia D. Keesstra Team Soil, Water and Land Use, Wageningen Environmental Research, Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen, Netherlands
  • Artemi Cerdà



Precipitation, Soil erosion, Land management, Human-affected ecosystems, Regional issues


In this research, the circulation weather types (CWTs) associated with individual surface pressure data at different atmospheric heights were used to correlate and quantify soil erosion events collecting soil loss (g m-2), runoff (l m-2) and sediment concentration (g L-1) using field plots and sediment collectors. Representative Mediterranean shrubland, located at Sierra de Enguera (Eastern Spain), was used as a case study where 213 rainfall episodes and related soil loss events were recorded for the 2010-2014 period. Average annual precipitation of 544 mm was registered, summarizing a total of 2,720.1 mm for the five years of the research period. A total of 34.4% of the registered precipitation events ranged from 10 to 29.9 mm, 23.5% from 30 to 49.9 mm, and 15.9% from 50 to 99.9 mm. The dynamic low-pressure with fronts (DLp+f) CWT was found to generate the highest precipitation amount reaching 60.6% of the total precipitation (105 of the 213 events). Over a third (35%) of the precipitation events occurred during Eastern CWT, which accounted for 48% of the total precipitation with average values of 17.6 mm per event. From the total runoff, 65.6% was related to the combined Eastern and cold drops (CD) CWT. The DLp+f CWT was found to produce 48.9% of sediment mobilization, of which 73.5% of this amount was generated by Eastern CWT. The highest sediment concentration event was found for the southern CWT under thermal low-pressure (TLp) reaching 51.65 g L-1, followed by A (anticyclones) with the Eastern CWT (42.23 g L-1). As a whole, the southern is the CWT generating the highest average sediment concentration (28.66 g L-1), followed by Easter CWT. Our findings suggest that CWTs contribute to foreseeing the periods with the highest soil losses and may help to prevent them. We discuss the need to analyse the changes in soil erosion rates due to CWT to better characterize the soil erosion process and assess the soil erosion rates, improve the current soil erosion models and investigate how climate change is changing the role CWT plays in runoff initiation and sediment delivery.


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Author Biography

Jesús Rodrigo-Comino, Departamento de Análisis Geográfico Regional y Geografía Física, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Campus Universitario de Cartuja, Universidad de Granada, 18071 Granada, España

Licenciado en Geografía  por la Universidad de Málaga en el curso   2011-2012. Realizó el Trabajo Fin de Carrera (tesina) bajo la dirección   del Dr. Senciales titulado: “Los suelos de la provincia de Málaga:   Revisión en función de los criterios de la clasificación de FAO-WRB   (2006)”. También con él, ha publicado una serie de artículos   relacionados con cuestiones geomorfológicas en los Montes de Málaga o   las plataformas travertínicas. Ha participado en actividades de  Didáctica de la  Geografía con jóvenes preuniversitarios, publicando  resultados de esta  actividad en revistas de la Asociación de Geógrafos  Españoles junto con  el Dr. Delgado Peña. Está preparando la tesis  doctoral sobre procesos geomorfológicos en viñedos (Valle del Mosela y Axarquía),en colaboración con la Universidad de Trier (Alemania) con los profesores  Johannes Ries y Manuel Seeger y con el Departamento de Geografía de la Universidad de Málaga con los profesores José Damián Ruiz Sinoga y José María Senciales.


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How to Cite

Rodrigo-Comino J, Senciales JM, Pérez Albarracín A, Bandala E, Escrivá Saneugenio F, Keesstra SD, Cerdà A. Circulation weather types as a key factor on runoff initiation and sediment detachment in Mediterranean shrublands. CIG [Internet]. 2023 Feb. 22 [cited 2023 Sep. 22];. Available from: