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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 6, issue 3 | Copyright
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 6, 455-466, 2002
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-6-455-2002
© Author(s) 2002. This work is licensed under
the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

  30 Jun 2002

30 Jun 2002

Excess nitrogen leaching and C/N decline in the Tillingbourne catchment, southern England: INCA process modelling for current and historic time series

P. G. Whitehead1, D. J. Lapworth2, R. A. Skeffington1, and A. Wade1 P. G. Whitehead et al.
  • 1Aquatic Environments Research Centre, Department of Geography, University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6AB
  • 2British Geological Survey, Hydrogeology Group, Wallingford, OX10 8BB, UK
  • Email for corresponding author: p.g.whitehead@reading.ac.uk

Abstract. Measurements of nitrate deposition and streamwater chemistry in the Tillingbourne Catchment, in Southern England, made in 1979-1982 and 1999-2001 show a 216% increase in Nitrogen leaching despite a reduction in N inputs. Both the historical and current data sets have been modelled using the Integrated Nitrogen Model in Catchments (INCA). The process-based model is shown to reproduce the historical patterns of N release from the catchment. However, modelling the increased leaching of N during recent years required an increase of the mineralisation control parameter in the model, suggesting enhanced mineralisation rates. Comparing historic and current soils data for C/N ratios shows that there has been a reduction in C/N from 38 to 26% in the humus layer and a reduction from 33 to 26% in the mineral soil horizon. This significant fall in C/N is consistent with the increase in N saturation in the H and Ah horizons of the major catchment soil.

Keywords: acid deposition, recovery, nitrogen, Carbon-Nitrogen ratios, Tillingbourne, Thames, catchment studies, nutrient leaching, modelling

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