Surface water acidification in the UK; current status, recent trends and future predictions
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Data collected at 22 lake and stream sites under the UK Acid Waters Monitoring Network, established in 1988, are assessed. Non-marine sulphate concentrations in surface waters largely reflect the sulphur deposition gradient across the country. Time series analysis indicates an increase in non-marine sulphate concentrations at sites in SW Scotland, the Lake District and in Wales. No similar trends have been detected in deposition data for the same period. Predictions of water chemistry response at each site to the new UNECE sulphur protocol have been made using a long-term, dynamic acidification model (MAGIC). The results indicate that the agreed emissions reductions will lead to recovery at many sites over a 15–20 year timescale but will have little effect at the most impacted sites, within the next 15 years.
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