Soil erosion is considered to be one of the greatest environmental problems of sub-Saharan Africa. This paper investigates the advantages and disadvantages of modelling soil erosion at the continental scale and suggests an operational methodology for mapping and quantifying 10-daily water runoff and soil erosion over this scale using remote sensing data in a geographical information system framework. An attempt is made to compare the estimates of this study with general data on the severity of soil erosion over Africa and with measured rates of soil loss at different locations over the continent. The results show that the measured and estimated rates of erosion are in some areas very similar and in general within the same order of magnitude. The importance and the potential of using the soil erosion estimates with simple models and easily accessible free data for various continental-scale environmental applications are also demonstrated.
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