, Volume 97, Issue 2–3, pp 123–140 | Cite as

Seasonal variability of diurnal in-stream nitrate concentration oscillations under hydrologically stable conditions

  • Simon RusjanEmail author
  • Matjaž Mikoš


Seasonal and diurnal variations of in-stream NO3-N concentration oscillations were studied through high-frequency measurements of streamwater’s physical, chemical parameters (in-stream NO3-N concentration, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH) and hydrometeorological variables (stream discharge, solar radiation) under hydrologically stable conditions. The study was carried out in 2006, within the 42 km2 forested Padež stream watershed in the southwestern part of Slovenia, which is characterized by distinctive hydrogeological settings (flysch) and climate conditions (transitional area between the Mediterranean and continental climate). Fine temporal data resolution (15-min interval) enabled identification of the factors responsible for seasonal variability in the diurnal pattern of the streamwater NO3-N concentrations versus seasonal and diurnal behavior of meteorological and other water chemistry constituents. The observed seasonal variability of in-stream NO3-N daily oscillations indicates the important role of primary production uptake, particularly during seasons when deciduous vegetation is dormant and light levels in the stream are high. Highest daily NO3-N concentration amplitudes (0.3 mg/l-N) and daily changes in the NO3-N flux (0.4–0.5 g/s-N) were observed in spring; the NO3-N concentration oscillations in summer showed a considerably smaller effect of the in-stream uptake (maximum NO3-N daily concentration amplitude 0.1 mg/l-N; daily change in the NO3-N flux 0.02 g/s-N). Seasonal shifts in the timing of daily maximum (up to 6 h) and minimum NO3-N concentrations (between 1 and 3 h) provided some additional indications of seasonal changes in the in-stream primary production uptake and its relation to the terrestrial component of the forested watershed.


Diurnal oscillations Forested watersheds High-frequency measurements Seasonality Slovenia In-stream nitrate 



This research was supported by the Slovenian Research Agency (doctoral grant No. 3311-03-831624 and research program P2-0180) and the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning of the Republic of Slovenia. We gratefully acknowledge M. Padežnik, A. Vidmar, D. Matthews, and T. Kralj for field and technical support. The authors wish to thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions and helpful comments on earlier versions of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Civil and Geodetic EngineeringUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia

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