Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Nutrient loads exported from managed catchments reveal emergent biogeochemical stationarity
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology (INK).
Show others and affiliations
2010 (English)In: Geophysical Research Letters, ISSN 0094-8276, Vol. 37, no L23404Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Complexity of heterogeneous catchments poses challenges in predicting biogeochemical responses to human alterations and stochastic hydro‐climatic drivers. Human interferences and climate change may have contributed to the demise of hydrologic stationarity, but our synthesis of a large body of observational data suggests that anthropogenic impacts have also resulted in the emergence of effective biogeochemical stationarity in managed catchments. Long‐term monitoring data from the Mississippi‐Atchafalaya River Basin (MARB) and the Baltic Sea Drainage Basin (BSDB) reveal that inter‐annual variations in loads (LT) for total‐N (TN) and total‐P (TP), exported from a catchment are dominantly controlled by discharge (QT) leading inevitably to temporal invariance of the annual, flow‐weighted concentration, = (LT/QT). Emergence of this consistent pattern across diverse managed catchments is attributed to the anthropogenic legacy of accumulated nutrient sources generating memory, similar to ubiquitously present sources for geogenic constituents that also exhibit a linear LTQT relationship. These responses are characteristic of transport‐limited systems. In contrast, in the absence of legacy sources in less‐managed catchments, values were highly variable and supply limited. We offer a theoretical explanation for the observed patterns at the event scale, and extend it to consider the stochastic nature of rainfall/flow patterns at annual scales. Our analysis suggests that: (1) expected inter‐annual variations in LT can be robustly predicted given discharge variations arising from hydro‐climatic or anthropogenic forcing, and (2) water‐quality problems in receiving inland and coastal waters would persist until the accumulated storages of nutrients have been substantially depleted. The finding has notable implications on catchment management to mitigate adverse water‐quality impacts, and on acceleration of global biogeochemical cycles.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 37, no L23404
Keyword [en]
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-51207DOI: 10.1029/2010GL045168OAI: diva2:384485
Available from: 2011-01-10 Created: 2011-01-10 Last updated: 2011-01-17Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Destouni, G.Darracq, A.
By organisation
Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology (INK)
In the same journal
Geophysical Research Letters

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 118 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link