This study examines how pollutant linkage of contaminants will be influenced by predicted changes in precipitation and subsequent rainfall erosion of soils and spoils in the United Kingdom during the 21st century. Two contrasting regional climates were used in conjunction with 2 extreme emissions scenarios (low and high greenhouse gas emissions) to run the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation 2 (RUSLE2) model for a case study that represents a high risk of pollutant linkage through water erosion. Results for the 2 scenarios and the 2 regions showed a significant and gradual increase in erosion rates with time as a consequence of climate change, by up to 32% for the southwest and 6.6% for the southeast regions by the 2080s. Revegetation of the site showed a dramatic reduction in predicted future amounts of sediment production and subsequent contaminant movement, well below existing levels. Limitations and future improvements of the methodology are discussed.
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Vol. 4 • No. 4