A comparison of the abilities of the USLE-M, RUSLE2 and WEPP to model event erosion from bare fallow areas

Peter KINNELL

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    15 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Traditionally, the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE) and the revised version of it (RUSLE) have been applied to predicting the long term average soil loss produced by rainfall erosion in many parts of the world. Overtime, it has been recognised that there is a need to predict soil losses over shorter time scales and this has led to the development of WEPP and RUSLE2 which can be used to predict soil losses generated by individual rainfall events. Data currently exists that enables the RUSLE2, WEPP and the USLE-M to estimate historic soil losses from bare fallow runoff and soil loss plots recorded in the USLE database. Comparisons of the abilities of the USLE-M and RUSLE2 to estimate event soil losses from bare fallow were undertaken under circumstances where both models produced the same total soil loss as observed for sets of erosion events on 4 different plots at 4 different locations. Likewise, comparisons of the abilities of the USLE-M and WEPP to model event soil loss from bare fallow were undertaken for sets of erosion events on 4 plots at 4 different locations. Despite being calibrated specifically for each plot, WEPP produced the worst estimates of event soil loss for all the 4 plots. Generally, the USLE-M using measured runoff to calculate the product of the runoff ratio, storm kinetic energy and the maximum 30-minute rainfall intensity produced the best estimates. As to be expected, ability of the USLE-M to estimate event soil loss was reduced when runoff predicted by either RUSLE2 or WEPP was used. Despite this, the USLE-M using runoff predicted by WEPP estimated event soil loss better than WEPP. RUSLE2 also outperformed WEPP.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)32-42
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Volume596-597
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

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