Location: Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory
Title: Improving Soil Erosion Predictions with 21st Century Data Authors
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 18, 2012
Publication Date: October 18, 2012
Citation: Beeson, P.C., Sadeghi, A.M., Lang, M.W. 2012. Improving soil erosion predictions with 21st century data [abstract]. 2nd UMD BARC Symposium. 2012 CDROM. Technical Abstract: As a result of 1930’s Dust Bowl, the U.S. initiated soil erosion and land conservation programs. The Universal Soil Loss (USLE) was one result of this effort and has remained one of the most widely used equations for soil erosion prediction world-wide. This empirical relationship has been incorporated into many computer-based water quality models critical for solving environmental and land management problems. However, the sources of information needed to solve the equation have changed during the last 70 years. For example, the derivation of slope, the most critical topographic value used in the equation, has changed dramatically since the development of the original model. It is now often extracted from digital evaluation models derived from aerial laser scanners. The resulting values are markedly different than those determined using 1940’s era methods and this change in data source significantly alters soil loss predicted by the USLE. Data collection methods, in general, will continue to evolve as technology advances, but we need to make sue that older relationships and equations reflect these improvements to ensure correct erosion predictions for land conservation.