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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Development of Enhanced Features, Improved Documentation and Expanded Databases for Weps

Location: Engineering and Wind Erosion Research Unit

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The overall objective of this cooperative research project is to: develop WEPS into a user friendly model capable of being easily learned and correctly applied by farmers, land managers, field technicians, etc., for use in determining susceptibility of managed land to wind erosion. Specific objectives are to: .
1)incorporate WEPS into regional air quality models;.
2)extend WEPS for better usage in non-cropland environments;.
3)enhance WEPS functionality by improving the plant growth model component, correctly representing organic soils, handling multiple subregions, and representing air flow over variable terrain elevations;.
4)assist in combining WEPS and WEPP models into a single wind/water erosion model; and.
5)improving the standalone erosion submodel component of the WEPS model to better address research and non-agricultural specific issues with wind erosion.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
1. Modify WEPS to allow it to be incorporated into regional air quality models. This requires the model to be modified to allow the current state to be saved to a file and the model restarted from that state in the future. Additionally, the model will require specialized output for the controlling regional dispersion model being used. 2. WEPS is currently cropland oriented. It needs to be extended to improve applicability in other, non-cropland environments. This requires modification of user interface terminology for non-agriculture environments and representation of management, land and vegetation features not typical in cropland management rotations. 3. Improvements in the plant growth and soil/water interaction science components are necessary to more fully represent all cropland conditions, especially multiple crop species growing simultaneously and organic soils being farmed. In addition, handling multiple subregions will allow for variability of soil/cropping conditions on a site. Representing the change in wind flow over variable elevation of a site’s terrain will also improve the model’s range of applicability. 4. Address the database and science issues as required to allow WEPP and WEPS to share as many science modules and databases as possible, improving the ability to combine the models into a single model. 5. Address user interface issues, agriculture terminology, etc., of SWEEP to better meet non-agriculture user needs.


3.Progress Report:

The intent is to improve the Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS) and the Single-event Wind Erosion Evaluation Program (SWEEP) by addressing specific deficiencies identified by users and researchers in how the models simulate wind erosion. The following specific features or deficiencies in WEPS have been addressed during this FY for the agreement:

a) WEPS has been extended and modified to be used as a component to provide PM10 emission inputs due to simulated wind erosion events for the AIRPACT-3 regional air quality dispersion model used in the Pacific Northwest. It has been demonstrated that it can meet the spatial requirements of the AIRPACT-3 system. The modified WEPS code has been sent to Washington State University for incorporation into a test setup for evaluation. Preliminary analysis has determined that WEPS needs to become a threaded application to make more efficient use of multiple processors to hopefully reduce runtime to acceptable AIRPACT-3 runtime limits. Two peer-reviewed manuscripts have been published related to this work. b) A version of WEPS has been modified to incorporate a comprehensive graphing system developed by ASRU scientists for natural resource models, Natural Resource Model Visualizer (NRMV). This will allow WEPS developers and scientists, as well as end users the ability to plot almost any variable available within WEPS versus time or another variable easily. It will become an included standard feature in a later release of WEPS.

Publications: J. Gao, L. E. Wagner, F. Fox, S. H. Chung, J. K. Vaughan, B. K. Lamb. 2013. Spatial Application of WEPS for Estimating Wind Erosion in the Pacific Northwest. Trans. ASABE. 56(2):613-624.

S. H. Chung, F. L. Herron-Thorpe, B. K. Lamb, T. M. VanReken, J. K. Vaughan, J. Gao, L. E. Wagner, F. Fox. 2013. Application of the Wind Erosion Prediction System in the AIRPACT Regional Air Quality Modeling Framework. Trans. ASABE. 56(2):625-641.


Last Modified: 7/24/2014
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