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.

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