Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 105, Issue 1–2, pp 193–203

An Empirical Approach for Assessing the Relationship Between Nitrogen Deposition and Nitrate Leaching from Upland Catchments in the United Kingdom Using Runoff Chemistry

  • R. Harriman
  • C. Curtis
  • A.C. Edwards
Article

Abstract

Samples were collected from 13 upland sites (main inflow and loch outflow) in the UK along an N deposition gradient of 12-50 kg ha-1 yr-1 to determine the relationship between N deposition and NO3- concentrations in surface waters. There was no direct correlation between NO3- leaching and soluble inorganic N deposition at these sites, but a significant relationship with NO3- was found using a deposition function incorporating dissolved organic carbon (DOC) flux from each catchment. A similar but less significant relationship was found between NO3- concentration and DOC:DON ratio in runoff water. Catchments showed evidence of N saturation, i.e., when mean NO3- concentration exceeded 5 µeq L-1, when the mean DOC:DON ratio fell below an approximate value of 25. Five other large loch sites (LLS) with multiple subcatchments were used to test these relationships and for four of these mostly heathland sites the predicted NO3- concentrations closely matched measured values. At the fifth site, where most subcatchments were forested, the deposition function and DOC:DON ratios gave conflicting predictions and both methods generally underestimated measured NO3- concentrations. If the capacity of these catchments to retain deposited N is determined by C supply then many upland catchments in the UK may experience increasing NO3- concentrations in runoff in the future at current or increased levels of N deposition.

catchment monitoring nitrogen deposition nitate leaching runoff chemistry stream chemistry 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

4. References

  1. Aber, J.D., Nadelhoffer, K.J., Steudler, P. and Melillo, J.M.: 1989, BioScience 39, 378.Google Scholar
  2. CLAG.: 1995, Critical Loads of Acid Deposition for United Kingdom Freshwaters, Department of Environment.Google Scholar
  3. CLAG.: 1997, Deposition Fluxes of Acidifying Compounds in the United Kingdom, Department of Environment.Google Scholar
  4. Dise, N.B. and Wright, R.F.: 1995, For. Ecol. Manage. 71, 153.Google Scholar
  5. Emmett, B.A., Brittain, S.A., Hughes, S. and Kennedy, V.: 1995, For. Ecol. Manage. 71, 61.Google Scholar
  6. Gundersen, P. and Ramussen, L.: 1990, Rev. Environ. Contamin. Toxicol. 13, 1.Google Scholar
  7. Gundersen, P., Emmett, B.A., Kjonaas, O.J., Koopmans, C.J. and Tietma, A.: 1997, For. Ecol. Manage., (in press).Google Scholar
  8. Mulder, J., Nilsen, P., Stuanes, A.O. and Huse, M.: 1997, Ambio 26, 273.Google Scholar
  9. Norton, S.A., Kahl, J.S. and Fernandes, I.J.: 1998, Water Air, Soil Pollut., (this issue).Google Scholar
  10. Reynolds, B., Fowler, D., Smith, R.I. and Hall, J.R.: 1997, J. Hydrol. 194, 305.Google Scholar
  11. Stoddard, J.L.: 1994, Environmental Chemistry of Lakes and Reservoirs, American Chemical Society.Google Scholar
  12. Muniz, I.P. and Framstad, E.: 1997, Hydrobiologia, 348, 49.Google Scholar
  13. Williams, B.L., Shand, C.A., Hill, M., O'Hara, C., Smith, S. and Young, M.E.: 1995, Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 26, 91.Google Scholar
  14. Vitousck, P.M., Aber, J.D. Howarth, R.W., Likens, G.E., Matson, P.A., Schindler, D.W., Schlesinger, W.H. and Tilman, D.G.: 1997, Ecol. Applic. 7, 737.Google Scholar
  15. Wright, R.F., and van Breemen, N.: 1995, For. Ecol. Manage. 71, 1.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Harriman
    • 1
  • C. Curtis
    • 2
  • A.C. Edwards
    • 3
  1. 1.Freshwater Fisheries LaboratoryPitlochry, PerthshireScotland
  2. 2.Environmental Change Research CentreUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Macaulay Land Use Research InstituteAberdeenUK

Personalised recommendations