The effect of changing climate and N deposition on montane ecosystems is a topic of considerable importance. Mountains are vulnerable environments and their ecosystems are often in a delicate balance. An application of the INCA-N model is presented to simulate current-day nitrate dynamics in a Scottish mountain lake and to project the possible future effects of climate change and reductions in N deposition on lake nitrate concentration ([NO3−]). The INCA-N model is calibrated using data from 1996–2006 in an attempt to determine the controls on [NO3−] in Lochnagar and process sensitivities to changing climate. Predictions were sensitive to hydrologic, vegetation-related and in-soil processes. Over the longer term, surface water [NO3−] in this mountain ecosystem is expected to increase. From 2020 to 2100, when N deposition is modelled at a constant rate, warmer temperature exerts a stronger effect on N losses to the lake surface than the N deposition. While the effects of a warming climate are projected to lead to increased surface water [NO3−], concentrations are not projected to either return to, or exceed, historical levels.
Modelling the effects of changing climate and nitrogen deposition on nitrate dynamics in a Scottish mountain catchment
M. N. Futter, R. C. Helliwell, M. Hutchins, J. Aherne; Modelling the effects of changing climate and nitrogen deposition on nitrate dynamics in a Scottish mountain catchment. Hydrology Research 1 April 2009; 40 (2-3): 153–166. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/nh.2009.073
Download citation file: