As a result of climate change, the frequency of extreme rain showers is expected to increase. How will this affect the soil? The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) studies the effects in its unique erosion laboratory at Science Park Amsterdam.
The erosion laboratory is a specialized setup (the largest of its kind in The Netherlands) consisting of a huge open container with a slope consisting of soil material. A large array of sensors is embedded in the soil material, while large sprinklers are suspended above it. Using the sprinklers, rain shower events of varying intensity can be simulated. One of the goals of the setup is to investigate the effects of the resulting soil erosion on carbon cycling in the soil. Increased soil erosion might result in a more rapid turnover, leading to an increase in the flux of the greenhouse gas CO2 released to the atmosphere.