Energy harvesting technologies have been extensively researched to develop long-lived wireless sensor networks. To better utilize the harvested energy, various energy storage systems are proposed. A simple circuit model is developed to describe supercapacitor behavior, which uses two resistor-capacitor branches with different time constants to characterize the charging and redistribution processes, and a variable leakage resistance (VLR) to characterize the self-discharge process. The voltage and temperature dependence of the VLR values is also discussed. Results show that the VLR model is more accurate than the energy recursive equation (ERE) models for short term wireless sensor network applications.© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.