, Volume 74, Issue 1, pp 21–46

Modelling the effects of climate change on an acidic upland stream


DOI: 10.1007/s10533-004-0154-6

Cite this article as:
Evans, C. Biogeochemistry (2005) 74: 21. doi:10.1007/s10533-004-0154-6


Most modelling studies of soil and surface water recovery from acidification assume a constant influence of climate over the simulation period. Given the likelihood of future climate change, and recent identification of links between climatic fluctuations and surface water trends on decadal time scales, an attempt is made to simulate a number of climate-related effects on the recovery of an acidified stream in mid-Wales. Empirical relationships were derived to model past and future variations in (i) runoff, as a function of rainfall and temperature; (ii) stream chloride concentration and sea-salt deposition, as a function of the North Atlantic Oscillation Index (NAOI); and (iii) stream dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration, as a function of summer temperatures and sulphur deposition. Incorporating these relationships in the MAGIC dynamic model reproduced a significant part of the observed variation in streamwater chemistry. Current scenarios of rising UK temperature and NAOI, and falling rainfall and acid deposition, were used to forecast effects of climate change on soil and water recovery from acidification. Results suggest that increasing DOC would have a significant negative impact on soil recovery, with elevated organic acidity lowering soil water pH and severely depleting soil base saturation. The resulting increase in soil base cation export would, however, have a positive impact on streamwater recovery. For increased sea-salt deposition, effects are essentially the opposite; increased base cation inputs enhance the recovery of soil base saturation, but displace acidity to the stream. However, simulated effects of raising DOC considerably outweighed those of increased sea-salt deposition. It is argued that greater consideration of these, and other, climatic effects on biogeochemical cycles needs to be taken when predicting the recovery of soils and surface waters from acidification.


AcidificationClimate changeDissolved organic carbonDynamic modellingMAGICSea-salts

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Ecology and HydrologyBangorUK