Trends in Surface Water Chemistry in Acidified Areas in Europe and North America from 1990 to 2008
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Acidification of lakes and rivers is still an environmental concern despite reduced emissions of acidifying compounds. We analysed trends in surface water chemistry of 173 acid-sensitive sites from 12 regions in Europe and North America. In 11 of 12 regions, non-marine sulphate (SO4*) declined significantly between 1990 and 2008 (−15 to −59 %). In contrast, regional and temporal trends in nitrate were smaller and less uniform. In 11 of 12 regions, chemical recovery was demonstrated in the form of positive trends in pH and/or alkalinity and/or acid neutralising capacity (ANC). The positive trends in these indicators of chemical recovery were regionally and temporally less distinct than the decline in SO4* and tended to flatten after 1999. From an ecological perspective, the chemical quality of surface waters in acid-sensitive areas in these regions has clearly improved as a consequence of emission abatement strategies, paving the way for some biological recovery.
KeywordsAcid deposition Surface waters Trend analysis Monitoring network Chemical recovery
We are grateful to all Focal centres that submit data to the ICP Waters programme centre, making large regional assessments of the environmental state of nutrient poor, acid-sensitive lakes, and rivers possible. We also thank the Norwegian Environment Agency and the Trust fund under UNECE for economic support.
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