WEPPCAT: Water Erosion Prediction Project Climate Assessment Tool

WEPPCAT is a web-based erosion simulation tool that allows for the assessment of changes in erosion rates as a consequence of user-defined climate change scenarios. This tool is based on the USDA-ARS Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model. WEPP has a number of customized interfaces developed for common applications such as roads, managed forests, forests following wildfire, and rangelands.

Global warming is expected to lead to a more vigorous hydrological cycle, including more total rainfall and more frequent high intensity rainfall events. Rainfall amounts and intensities increased on average in the United States during the 20th century and, according to climate change models, they are expected to continue to increase during the 21st century. These rainfall changes, along with expected changes in temperature, solar radiation, and atmospheric CO2 concentrations, will have significant impacts on soil erosion rates. The impacts of climate change on water-based soil erosion are complex, involving changes in rainfall amounts and intensities, number of days of precipitation, ratio of rain to snow, plant biomass production, plant residue decomposition rates, soil microbial activity, evapo-transpiration rates, and shifts in land use necessary to accommodate a new climatic regime.

This tool has the capability of taking into account all of the erosion-affecting processes listed above. Originally WEPP was created for agricultural modeling, but it is now widely used in forestry, fisheries, rangeland and mining studies and projects.

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  • Assessment guide
  • Modeling tool


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