Location: Rangeland Resources & Systems ResearchTitle: WebStart WEPS: Remote data access and model execution functionality added to WEPS
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/2/2018
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS) is a daily time step, process based wind erosion model developed by the United States Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS). WEPS simulates climate and management driven changes to the surface/vegetation/soil state on a daily basis and estimates erosion losses when surface conditions cause the wind surface friction velocity to exceed the computed surface threshold friction velocity. WEPS was released to USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) in 2010. WEPS has since been the USDA-NRCS preferred wind erosion model to: a) assist land managers in controlling wind erosion; b) establishing field-level plans to conserve the soil; and c) determine wind erosion susceptibility as a part of national conservation programs to conserve the soil resource. The greatest attribute of WEPS is its ability to be utilized as a "what-if" tool to evaluate different management scenarios for developing and evaluating alternative wind erosion control practices. WEPS is currently designed with a modular coded Fortran science model and a multi-platform capable Java based user interface. The interface allows easy user access to national scale weather and soil data as well as crop and operation records representing the most commonly grown crops and operations used in the United States. There are only four primary inputs required to setup and execute a WEPS run: a) field dimensions (size/shape/orientation); b) field location (where the field lat/lon automatically determines the weather and wind data to be used; c) dominant erosive soil component on the field; and d) the sequence of management practices applied on the site. The inputs, however, access a significant amount of data currently provided mostly in local stored files and databases. Maintaining this data locally on every computer and keeping it current poses two major issues: 1) disk space required to retain copies of the data locally and 2) a means to keep the data current and have a simple, automated procedures in place to ensure that a standard updating process is followed on a regular basis. To address these concerns, remote access has been provided for the climate and wind data as well as the operation, crop and management records for the WebStart release of WEPS. A Java WebStart framework was used to retain the current WEPS look and feel, leveraging the current code base, etc. without having to rewrite the interface as a complete web application. The WebStart WEPS release allows both remote access to the necessary WEPS data as well as the option of running the WEPS science model remotely, "in the cloud", as a service. Thus, the computational and storage requirements of the client computer are significantly reduced for making WEPS runs, as long as the user has access to these remote services. This presentation will explore the decision making process that went into the selection of the Java WebStart framework and the unique issues that arose while incorporating remote services functionality into WEPS. In addition, the list of benefits acquired by providing remote services functionality to WEPS, while still preserving its ability to be run offline with locally stored data, are enumerated.