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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SOIL RESOURCES AND AIR QUALITY AFFECTED BY WIND EROSION AND FUGITIVE DUST EMISSIONS: PROCESSES, SIMULATION AND CONTROL Title: A history of wind erosion prediction models in the United States Department of Agriculture Prior to the Wind Erosion Prediction System

Authors
item Tatarko, John
item Sporcic, Michael -
item Skidmore, Edward

Submitted to: Aeolian Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 23, 2012
Publication Date: August 1, 2013
Repository URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aeolia.2012.08.004
Citation: Tatarko, J., Sporcic, M.A., Skidmore, E.L. 2013. A history of wind erosion prediction models in the United States Department of Agriculture Prior to the Wind Erosion Prediction System. Aeolian Research. 10:3-8.

Interpretive Summary: The Great Plains experienced an influx of settlers in the late 1850s to 1900. Periodic drought was hard on both settlers and the soil and caused severe wind erosion. The period known as the Dirty Thirties, 1931 to 1939, produced many severe windstorms, and the resulting dusty sky over Washington, D.C. helped Hugh Hammond Bennett gain political support for the Soil Conservation Act of 1937 that start the USDA Soil Conservation Service (SCS). Austin W. Zingg and William S. Chepil began basic wind erosion studies at a USDA laboratory at Kansas State University in 1947. Neil P. Woodruff and Francis H. Siddoway published the first widely used model for wind erosion in 1965, called the Wind Erosion Equation (WEQ). The WEQ was solved using a series of charts and lookup tables. Subsequent improvements to WEQ included improvements to estimations of wind, vegetation, and wind erosion control practices. A computer version of WEQ was also developed, greatly simplifying its use. The SCS and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) produced several computer versions of WEQ as well with the goal of standardizing and simplifying it for field personnel including a version of WEQ was developed in the late 1990s using Microsoft Excel. Although WEQ was a great advancement to the science of prediction and control of wind erosion on cropland, it had many limitations that prevented its use on many lands throughout the United States and the world. In response to these limitations, the USDA developed a state-of-the-art model know as the Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS). The USDA Agricultural Research Service has taken the lead in developing science and technology for wind erosion prediction.

Technical Abstract: The Great Plains experienced an influx of settlers in the late 1850s to 1900. Periodic drought was hard on both settlers and the soil and caused severe wind erosion. The period known as the Dirty Thirties, 1931 to 1939, produced many severe windstorms, and the resulting dusty sky over Washington, D.C. helped Hugh Hammond Bennett gain political support for the Soil Conservation Act of 1937 that start the USDA Soil Conservation Service (SCS). Austin W. Zingg and William S. Chepil began wind erosion studies at a USDA laboratory at Kansas State University in 1947. Neil P. Woodruff and Francis H. Siddoway published the first widely used model for wind erosion in 1965, called the Wind Erosion Equation (WEQ). The WEQ was solved using a series of charts and lookup tables. Subsequent improvements to WEQ included monthly magnitudes of the total wind, a computer version of WEQ programmed in Fortran, small-grain equivalents for range grasses, tillage systems, effects of residue management, crop row direction, cloddiness, monthly climate factors, and the weather. The SCS and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) produced several computer versions of WEQ with the goal of standardizing and simplifying it for field personnel including a standalone version of WEQ was developed in the late 1990s using Microsoft Excel. Although WEQ was a great advancement to the science of prediction and control of wind erosion on cropland, it had many limitations that prevented its use on many lands throughout the United States and the world. In response to these limitations, the USDA developed a process-based model know as the Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS). The USDA Agricultural Research Service has taken the lead in developing science and technology for wind erosion prediction.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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