Improving nitrate load estimates in an agricultural catchment using Event Response Reconstruction.

Abstract:

:Low-frequency grab sampling cannot capture fine dynamics of stream solute concentrations, which results in large uncertainties in load estimates. The recent development of high-frequency sensors has enabled monitoring solute concentrations at sub-hourly time scales. This study aimed to improve nitrate (NO3) load estimates using high-resolution records (15-min time interval) from optical sensors to capture the typical concentration response to storm events. An empirical model was developed to reconstruct NO3 concentrations during storm events in a 100-km2 agricultural catchment in Germany. Two years (Jan 2002 to Dec 2002 and Oct 2005 to Sep 2006) of high-frequency measurements of NO3 concentrations, discharge and precipitation were used. An Event Response Reconstruction (ERR) model was developed using NO3 concentration descriptor variables and predictor variables calculated from discharge and precipitation records. Fourteen events were used for calibration, and 27 events from four periods of continuous records of high-frequency measurement were used for validation. During all selected storm events, NO3 concentration decreased during flow rise and increased during the recession phase of the hydrograph. Three storm descriptor variables were used to describe these dynamics: relative change in concentration between initial and minimum NO3 concentrations (rdN), time to maximum change in NO3 concentration (TdN) and time to 50% recovery of NO3 concentration (TN rec ). The ERR consisted of building linear models of discharge and precipitation to predict these three descriptors. The ERR approach greatly improved NO3 load estimates compared to linear interpolation of grab sampling data (error decreased from 10 to 1%) or flow-weighted estimation of load (error is 7%). This study demonstrated that ERR based on a few months of high-resolution data enables accurate load estimates from low-frequency NO3 data.

journal_name

Environ Monit Assess

authors

Jomaa S,Aboud I,Dupas R,Yang X,Rozemeijer J,Rode M

doi

10.1007/s10661-018-6700-9

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2018-05-07 00:00:00

pages

330

issue

6

eissn

0167-6369

issn

1573-2959

pii

10.1007/s10661-018-6700-9

journal_volume

190

pub_type

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