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Dynamics of critical source areas: Does connectivity explain chemistry?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22889750     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
Critical source area approaches to catchment management are increasingly being recognised as effective tools to mitigate sediment and nutrient transfers. These approaches often assume hydrological connectivity as a driver for environmental risk, however this assumption has rarely been tested. Using high resolution monitoring, 14 rainfall events of contrasting intensity were examined in detail for spatial and temporal dynamics of overland flow generation at a hydrologically isolated grassland hillslope in Co. Down, Northern Ireland. Interactions between overland flow connectivity and nutrient transfers were studied to test the critical source area hypothesis. While total and soluble phosphorus loads were found to be representative of the size of the overland flow contributing area (P=<0.05), the dynamics of concentrations throughout storm hydrographs were found to be complex and storm dependant. Near linear relationships were observed between the contributing area and total overland flow volumes (R(2)=0.86). Export coefficients (kgha(-1)) calculated using plot size were found to under estimate annual losses of total phosphorus by a factor of 17, when compared to those calculated using the contributing area. This study shows that current critical source area definitions for implementing mitigation measures may be overlooking the importance of storm characteristics in determining nutrient transfers and hence may be insufficient in determining catchment scale risk.
Authors:
J J D Thompson; D G Doody; R Flynn; C J Watson
Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-8-10
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Science of the total environment     Volume:  435-436C     ISSN:  1879-1026     ISO Abbreviation:  Sci. Total Environ.     Publication Date:  2012 Aug 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-8-14     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0330500     Medline TA:  Sci Total Environ     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  499-508     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Affiliation:
Agri-Environment Division, The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, 18a Newforge Lane, Malone Upper, Belfast BT9 5PX, Northern Ireland; Groundwater Research Group, The Queen's University of Belfast, Malone Road, Belfast BT9 5AG, Northern Ireland.
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