Estimation of the human impact on nutrient loads carried by the Elbe River
2004 (English)In: Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, ISSN 0167-6369 (print) 1573-2959 (online), Vol. 96, no 1-3, 15-33 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The reunification of Germany led to dramatically reduced emissions of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) to the environment. The aim of the present study was to examine how these exceptional decreases influenced the amounts of nutrients carried by the Elbe River to the North Sea. In particular, we attempted to extract anthropogenic signals from time series of riverine loads of nitrogen and phosphorus by developing a normalization technique that enabled removal of natural fluctuations caused by several weather-dependent variables. This analysis revealed several notable downward trends. The normalized loads of total-N and NO3-N exhibited an almost linear trend, even though the nitrogen surplus in agriculture dropped dramatically in 1990 and then slowly increased. Furthermore, the decrease in total-P loads was found to be considerably smaller close to the mouth of the river than further upstream. Studying the predictive ability of different normalization models showed the following: (i) nutrient loads were influenced primarily by water discharge; (ii) models taking into account water temperature, load of suspended particulate matter, and salinity were superior for some combinations of sampling sites and nutrient species; semiparametric normalization models were almost invariably better than ordinary regression models.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 96, no 1-3, 15-33 p.
Elbe River, nitrogen, normalization, phosphorus, trend detection
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-13603DOI: 10.1023/B:EMAS.0000031722.88972.62OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-13603DiVA: diva2:21035