Wind erosion modelling in a Sahelian environment

S.M. Faye-Visser, G. Sterk, D. Karssenberg

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56 Citations (Scopus)


In the Sahel field observations of wind-blown mass transport often show considerable spatial variation related to the spatial variation of the wind erosion controlling parameters, e.g. soil crust and vegetation cover. A model, used to predict spatial variation in wind erosion and deposition is a useful tool in the implementation of wind erosion control measures in the Sahel. The aim of this paper was to test two existing wind erosion models on spatial predictions of aeolian mass transport for Sahelian conditions. Field data from Burkina Faso were used to test an empirical (RWEQ) and a deterministic (WEPS) model. The revised wind erosion equation (RWEQ) poorly predicted maximum mass transport and so spatial predictions of mass transport were underestimated. Major constraints of RWEQ for application in the Sahel were the required non-eroding boundary and the fact that RWEQ assumes a more or less homogeneous field. It was concluded that RWEQ in its current state was not suitable for application in a Sahelian environment. With the correct roughness length (Z0), wind erosion prediction system (WEPS) correctly predicted friction velocity and initiation and cessation of mass transport. Furthermore, the model gave a reasonable prediction of the spatial distribution of mass transport at the research sites. It was concluded that WEPS in PCRaster is suitable for prediction of wind erosion in a Sahelian environment. A constraint of WEPS in PCRaster is that WEPS' predictions of spatial variation in sediment transport are closely linked to the spatial variation in the input parameters. A good estimation of the spatial variation of the input parameters was required. Obtaining these might be an expensive exercise and could make its use in the Sahel difficult
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-84
JournalEnvironmental Modelling & Software
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • crop residue
  • soil
  • transport
  • vegetation
  • africa
  • niger

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