A comparative analysis of sediment yield simulation by empirical and process-oriented models in Thailand

Rabin Bhattarai, Dushmanta Dutta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although soil erosion has been recognized worldwide as a threat to the sustainability of natural ecosystems, its quantification presents one of the greatest challenges in natural resources and environmental planning. Precise modelling of soil erosion and sediment yield is particularly difficult, as soil erosion is a highly dynamic process at the spatial scale. The main objective of this study was to simulate soil erosion and sediment yield using two fundamentally different approaches: empirical and process-oriented. The revised form of the Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE), along with a sediment delivery distributed model (SEDD) and the Modified Universal Soil Loss Equation (MUSLE), which are popular empirical models, were applied in a sub-basin of the Mun River basin, Thailand. The results obtained from the RUSLE/SEDD and MUSLE models were compared with those obtained from a process-oriented soil erosion and sediment transport model. The latter method involves spatial disaggregation of the catchment into homogeneous grid cells to capture the catchment heterogeneity. A GIS technique was used for the spatial discretization of the catchment and to derive the physical parameters related to erosion in the grid cells. The simulated outcomes from the process-oriented model were found to be closer to observations as compared to the outcomes of the empirical approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1253-1269
Number of pages17
JournalHydrological Sciences Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2008


  • Process-oriented model
  • Sediment yield
  • Soil erosion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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