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Wind Erosion:
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Wind Erosion Prediction System: Management Submodel (1)

Larry E. Wagner, Ph.D.


The Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS) is a process-based, daily time-step model that simulates weather, field conditions, and erosion. It is intended as a prediction tool for those who plan soil conservation systems, conduct environmental planning, or assess offsite impacts caused by wind erosion. WEPS incorporates improved technology for computing soil loss by wind from agricultural fields as well as providing new capabilities such as assessing plant damage, calculating suspension loss, and estimating PM-10 emissions from the field.

As a process-based planning tool, WEPS is expected to reflect the effects of various management practices upon wind erosion. Therefore, the WEPS MANAGEMENT submodel's objective is to simulate those management practices. For WEPS to accurately assess management effects upon a site's susceptibility to wind erosion, the MANAGEMENT submodel must adequately simulate the diverse cultural practices employed by producers. Those practices include typical primary and secondary tillage, cultivation, planting/seeding, harvesting, and fertilization operations as well as irrigation, burning, and grazing practices.

The MANAGEMENT submodel deals with the variety of land management actions by identifying the primary physical processes involved and representing each individual management operation as a sequenced set of those primary physical processes. Those processes include: 1) mass manipulation (changes in aggregate size distribution and soil porosity, mixing of soil and residue among soil layers, and soil layer inversion); 2) surface modification (creation or destruction of ridges and/or dikes that form oriented surface roughness, changes in surface random roughness, and destruction of soil crust); 3) biomass manipulation (burying and resurfacing residue, clipping standing residue, flattening standing residue, killing live crop biomass, and biomass removal); and 4) soil amendments (fertilization, planting, and irrigation).

1. Contribution from USDA-ARS in cooperation with Kansas Ag. Exp. Station, Contribution No. 97-117-J