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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Wind Erosion
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Wind Erosion

Soil erosion by wind is a threat to a sustainable agriculture as well as human health and soil, air, and water quality. The principal goal of this research is to support the science and technology of the Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS) model. WEPS is the most widely used tool for predicting the effects of management practices and cropping rotations on wind erosion potential for specified field sites. WEPS is a state-of-the-art computer model that simulates daily wind erosion processes based on weather, management, crop rotations, and soil conditions. For WEPS, the major components under study are those that determine the surface state of erodibility and include the surface roughness, crop and residue cover, aggregate size distribution and stability, soil moisture, and soil crusting.

We test WEPS algorithms against measured surface properties and soil loss data over time at various field sites. In addition, we evaluate within-field variability of erosion processes by measuring the spatial changes of surface wind friction velocities and soil loss across field sites. This research will improve the robustness of WEPS and expand its utility to larger areas for the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and other users for an enhanced agricultural productivity and improved environmental quality.

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Last Modified: 4/17/2017
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