More about the project


The Modelled Wind Erosion project is a collaborative project between University of Southern Queensland (USQ), NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), Dept. of Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries (DAFF), and Griffith University (GU) to document wind erosion patterns and trends. Modelled Wind Erosion uses the Computational Environmental Management System (CEMSYS) numerical model to determine the extent and severity of wind erosion across Australia, and within NRM regions. The data can be used by NRM bodies and the Australian Government for resource condition reporting.

Mapping wind erosion using a numerical model

To tackle the problem of wind erosion it is necessary to know where it occurs and how intense it is. To deal with the problem effectively, the Federal and State governments, along with Natural Resource Management (NRM) regional bodies, need to know:
- where the wind erosion is occurring
- how severe it is
- if the NRM based strategies aimed at reducing erosion are making a difference

Measuring wind erosion as it changes in space and time is very difficult; wind erosion varies across the landscape, occurs at different times of the year and changes between years.

Numerical models, run on large computers, can assist in natural resource management by calculating (or modelling) wind erosion rates for the entire continent.

The CEMSYS Project

The CEMSYS Project produces monthly and annual wind erosion maps of Australia at 50 km resolution. For each pixel (50 km x 50km), a wind erosion severity level was calculated and classified as either very low, low, moderate, high or very high erosion. Then for each Natural Resource Management (NRM) region the percentage of land area affected by each wind erosion severity class was calculated.


Final Reports can be viewed open-source at NRM Knowledge Online as they become available. More publications may be added in the coming months.

Read more about CEMSYS:
Leys, J., Butler, H., Yang, X., and Heidenreich, S. (2010). CEMSYS Modelled Wind Erosion. Technical Report. No. DECCW 2010\. Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, Sydney. 78 pp.

Butler, H., Leys, J., Strong, C. and McTainsh, G (2013). Wind erosion extent and severity maps for Australia, Final Report for Project No: A0000007341, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, 68pp.

Project lifespan

The project began in 2009 and was renewed for 2010 2013 under the Caring for our Country initiative. 


No updates are expected to be made after June 2013.

Sister projects within the initiative

The Caring for our Country initiative invested significantly in wind erosion knowledge creation & communication. The following projects form an integrated suite of wind erosion monitoring information under this initiative:

- Wind Erosion Histories (Griffith University) 

- Community DustWatch (NSW Office of Environment & Heritage)

- Modelled Wind Erosion (University of Southern Queensland) (you are here)

- the Monitor (NSW Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry)


The Modelled Wind Erosion project is an outcome of the Caring for our Country initiative.

A collaborative effort between the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage (OEH) and the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) was required to complete this project.  Project team members were Dr John Leys (OEH), Dr Harry Butler (USQ), Dr Xihua Yang (OEH) and Mr Stephan Heidenreich (OEH). 


For more information, contact the project manager, Dr Harry Butler.



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