Modeling soil erodibility and critical shear stress parameters for soil loss estimation

Sanghyun Lee, Maria L. Chu, Jorge A. Guzman, Dennis C. Flanagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The rate of soil erosion from agricultural fields is driven by climate erosivity and by soil erodibility or resistance, commonly represented through the interrill (Ki) and rill erodibility (Kr), and critical shear stress (τc) parameters. These parameters are affected by factors showing high variability in time and space, such as soil properties, land use, and management practices. Estimating the site-specific time-varying values for Ki, Kr, and τc can require laborious field or laboratory experiments and detailed datasets. The objective of this research was to develop a non-linear regression model for estimating temporal adjustments for Ki, Kr, and τc considering different types of crops and management practices. One thousand sampling sites were randomly selected across the Kaskaskia watershed in Illinois, and the needed parameters to develop the regression models were extracted from the two-year simulation results of the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model on a daily basis. The predicted values of the regression models showed good agreements with the sample data, with the coefficient of determination (r2) ranging from 0.62 to 0.98, capturing the spatio-temporal variations of the three variables under different crops and management practices. In addition, daily soil loss estimations using the predicted adjustments showed good agreements with the WEPP simulations, with r2 ranged from 0.98 to 0.99, confirming their possible use in soil erosion models. This is especially useful as the regression models require only a few explanatory variables, which are available at high resolution across the United States. Therefore, the models will facilitate estimating spatio-temporal variations of interrill and rill erodibility, and critical shear stress and thus a new platform of large-scale soil erosion models can be developed using readily available environmental datasets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105292
JournalSoil and Tillage Research
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Critical shear stress
  • Interrill erodibility
  • Rill erodibility
  • Soil erosion
  • Soil loss
  • WEPP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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