Physical and chemical characteristics of the Blue Nile and the White Nile at Khartoum
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Fortnightly measurements of physical and chemical variables were made at two locations on the Blue and White Niles near Khartoum from August 1968 to December 1970. Variables analysed from each river were: temperature, pH, total residue, current velocity, oxygen, alkalinity, phosphate, nitrate, ammonia, silica, sulphate, iron, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and oxidizable organic matter. The seasonal variations of these factors in the two Niles are compared and the interrelationships existing between some of them are discussed. Comparisons with earlier studies on the Nile and with some tropical rivers are made.
In the Blue Nile, the amounts of suspended matter and nutrients are largely dependent upon the flood regime. Nitrate, phosphate, iron, oxidizable organic matter and total residue increase considerably in the Blue Nile when the river is in flood (peaks: 1 880 µg NO3-N l−1; 0.31 mg Fe l−1; 3 842 mg total residue · l−1).
In the White Nile, concentrations of nitrate, phosphate, iron, oxidizable organic matter and total residue attain their peaks during the rainy season (270 µg NO3-N l−1; 163 tag PO4-P l−1; 0.46 mg Fe · l−1; 502 mg total residue · l−1).
In both rivers, alkalinity, calcium, sodium and potassium tend to increase during the dry season while declining in the rainy season. Silica is depleted at certain times of the year, yet relatively high concentrations are maintained throughout the year and were not expected to limit growth of diatoms. Fall in silica concentrations, unlike nitrate, phosphate and iron, was always followed by a rapid restoration of a high level. Silica and magnesium showed no response to changes in discharge rates.
KeywordsSudan Blue Nile chemical composition tropical rivers White Nile
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