Abstract

Climate is widely thought to regulate erosion rates, but the relationships among precipitation, temperature, and erosion rate have remained speculative, because long-term erosion rates have been difficult to measure. We used cosmogenic nuclides to measure long-term erosion rates at climatically diverse sites in the Sierra Nevada, California, spanning 20–180 cm/yr in annual precipitation and 4–15 °C in mean annual temperature. Average erosion rates vary by only 2.5 fold across these sites and are not correlated with climate, indicating that climate only weakly regulates nonglacial erosion rates in mountainous granitic terrain.

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