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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: PRESERVATION, ENHANCEMENT, AND MEASUREMENT OF GRAIN QUALITY AND MARKETABILITY

Location: Engineering and Wind Erosion Research Unit

Title: Application of the Wind Erosion Prediction System in the AIRPACT regional air quality modeling framework

Authors
item Chung, Serena -
item Herron-Thorpe, Farren -
item Lamb, Brian -
item Vanreken, Timothy -
item Vaughn, Joseph -
item Gao, Jincheng -
item Wagner, Larry
item Fox, Jr, Fred

Submitted to: Transactions of the ASABE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 1, 2013
Publication Date: March 1, 2013
Repository URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.13031/2013.42674
Citation: Chung, S.H., Herron-Thorpe, F.L., Lamb, B.K., Vanreken, T.M., Vaughn, J., Gao, J., Wagner, L.E., Fox, F.A. 2013. Application of the Wind Erosion Prediction System in the AIRPACT regional air quality modeling framework. Transactions of the ASABE. 56(2):625-641.

Interpretive Summary: Wind erosion of soil is a major concern of the agricultural community as it removes the most fertile part of the soil and thus degrades soil productivity. Furthermore, dust emissions due to wind erosion contribute to poor air quality, reduce visibility, and cause perturbations to regional radiation budgets. Because PM10 emitted from the soil surface can travel hundreds of kilometers down wind before being deposited back down to the surface, an important aspect of understanding the impact of agricultural activities and land-management practices on air quality in a changing climate is the ability to address various agricultural air pollutant sources within a comprehensive framework of a regional air quality modeling system. The Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS) is a new tool for treating erosion from agricultural fields. As a process-based model, WEPS represents a significant improvement in comparison to existing empirical windblown dust modeling algorithms. WEPS was originally intended for soil conservation applications and designed to simulate conditions of a single field over multiple years. In this work, we took advantage of the physical algorithms embedded in WEPS by first incorporating its EROSION submodel with the aid of several satellite products to develop a PM10 emissions module for regional windblown dust that can be employed within a comprehensive regional air quality framework. To demonstrate the capabilities of the new framework, we present here results from simulations of dust storms that occurred in central and eastern Washington during October 4 2009 and August 26 2010. Comparison of model results with observations indicate that the modeling framework performs well in predicting the onset and timing of dust storm and the spatial extent of the dust plume. The new modeling framework is able to predict elevated PM10 concentrations hundreds of kilometer downwind of erosion source regions associated with the windblown dust, although the magnitude of the PM10 concentrations are extremely sensitive to the assumption of surface soil moisture. Future work includes incorporating the full WEPS model into the regional modeling framework and targeted field measurements to evaluate the modeling framework more extensively.

Technical Abstract: Wind erosion of soil is a major concern of the agricultural community as it removes the most fertile part of the soil and thus degrades soil productivity. Furthermore, dust emissions due to wind erosion contribute to poor air quality, reduce visibility, and cause perturbations to regional radiation budgets. Because PM10 emitted from the soil surface can travel hundreds of kilometers down wind before being deposited back down to the surface, an important aspect of understanding the impact of agricultural activities and land-management practices on air quality in a changing climate is the ability to address various agricultural air pollutant sources within a comprehensive framework of a regional air quality modeling system. The Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS) is a new tool for treating erosion from agricultural fields. As a process-based model, WEPS represents a significant improvement in comparison to existing empirical windblown dust modeling algorithms. WEPS was originally intended for soil conservation applications and designed to simulate conditions of a single field over multiple years. In this work, we took advantage of the physical algorithms embedded in WEPS by first incorporating its EROSION submodel with the aid of several satellite products to develop a PM10 emissions module for regional windblown dust that can be employed within a comprehensive regional air quality framework. To demonstrate the capabilities of the new framework, we present here results from simulations of dust storms that occurred in central and eastern Washington during October 4 2009 and August 26 2010. Comparison of model results with observations indicate that the modeling framework performs well in predicting the onset and timing of dust storm and the spatial extent of the dust plume. The new modeling framework is able to predict elevated PM10 concentrations hundreds of kilometer downwind of erosion source regions associated with the windblown dust, although the magnitude of the PM10 concentrations are extremely sensitive to the assumption of surface soil moisture. Future work includes incorporating the full WEPS model into the regional modeling framework and targeted field measurements to evaluate the modeling framework more extensively.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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