Increased dissolved organic carbon concentrations in peat‐fed UK water supplies under future climate and sulfate deposition scenarios

Xu, J. , Morris, P.J., Liu, J., Ledesma, J.L.J. and Holden, J. (2020) Increased dissolved organic carbon concentrations in peat‐fed UK water supplies under future climate and sulfate deposition scenarios. Water Resources Research, 56(1), e2019WR025. (doi: 10.1029/2019WR025592)

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Abstract

Peatlands are globally‐important terrestrial carbon stores as well as regional sources of potable water supply. Water draining from peatlands is rich in dissolved organic carbon (DOC), which can be problematic for water treatment. However, it is unclear how future climate and sulfate deposition changes may impact DOC in peatland‐derived potable water. The United Kingdom (UK) is a global hotspot that consumes 79 % of all potable water derived directly from peatlands. Here, a physically‐based hydrological model and a biogeochemical organic carbon model were used to predict discharge and DOC concentration in nine hotspots of peatland‐derived potable water use in the UK under a range of 21st‐century climate and sulfate‐deposition scenarios. These nine catchments supply 72 % of all peatland‐derived water consumed in the UK, and 57 % of the global total, equivalent to the total domestic consumption of over 14 million people. Our simulations indicate that annual discharges will decrease, and that mean annual DOC concentrations will increase under all future scenarios (by as much as 53.4 % annually for the highest emissions scenario) in all catchments. Large increases (by as much as a factor of 1.6) in DOC concentration in the 2090s over the baseline period are projected for autumn and winter, seasons when DOC concentrations are already high in the baseline datasets such that water treatment works often reach their capacity to cope. The total DOC flux is largely insensitive to future climate change because the projected increase in DOC concentration is mostly counterbalanced by the projected decrease in discharge.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This research was funded in part by a Ph.D. scholarship awarded to J.X., funded jointly by the China Scholarship Council (No. 201506420041), China University of Mining and Technology, and the School of Geography, University of Leeds. This study was also supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41625001, 41571022). J.L.J.L. was supported by the Spanish Government through a Juan de la Cierva grant (FJCI-2017-32111).
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Xu, Dr Jiren
Authors: Xu, J., Morris, P.J., Liu, J., Ledesma, J.L.J., and Holden, J.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Journal Name:Water Resources Research
Publisher:American Geophysical Union
ISSN:0043-1397
ISSN (Online):1944-7973
Published Online:03 January 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 American Geophysical Union
First Published:First published in Water Resources Research 56(10):e2019WR025
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy
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