Euro-limpacs Deliverables

ABSTRACT - DELIVERABLE 103

Paper on the results from soil freezing experiments on release of N and C to surface waters

Controls of stream water NO3 in mountainous and forested catchments are not thoroughly understood. Longterm trends in stream water NO3 are positive, neutral and negative, often apparently independent of trends in N deposition. Here, time series of NO3 in four small acid-sensitive catchments in southern Norway were analysed in order to identify likely drivers of long-term changes in NO3. In two sites, stream water NO3 export declined ca 50% over a period of 25 years while in the other sites NO3 export increased with roughly 20%. Discharge and N deposition alone were poor predictors of these trends. The most distinct trends in NO3 were found in winter and spring. Empirical models explained between 45% and 61% of the variation in weekly concentrations of NO3, and described both upward and downward seasonal trends tolerably well. Key explaining variables were snow depth, discharge, temperature and N deposition. All catchments showed reductions in snow depth and increases in winter discharge. In two inland catchments, located in moderate N deposition areas, these climatic changes appeared to drive the distinct decreases in winter and spring concentrations and fluxes of NO3. In a coast-near mountainous catchment in a low N deposition area, these climatic changes appeared to have the opposite effect, i.e. lead to increases in especially winter NO3. This suggests that the effect of a reduced snow pack may result in both decreased and increased catchment N leaching depending on interactions with N deposition, soil temperature regime and winter discharge.

Download deliverable report [526 kB]

« back to Deliverables