Spatiotemporal statistical modelling of long-term change in river nutrient concentrations in England & Wales

Miller, C. , Magdalina, A.-M., Willows, R., Bowman, A. , Scott, E. , Lee, D., Burgess, C., Pope, L., Pannullo, F. and Haggarty, R. (2014) Spatiotemporal statistical modelling of long-term change in river nutrient concentrations in England & Wales. Science of the Total Environment, 466-7, pp. 914-923. (doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.07.113) (PMID:23988742)

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Abstract

Concentrations of nutrient nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are elevated in rivers across large areas of Europe (European Nitrogen Assessment (ENA), Sutton et al., 2011). Environmental policies have been implemented over the past 20 years with the aim of reducing nitrogen inputs to surface waters. However, environmental and ecological status is still below set targets (ENA, Sutton et al., 2011). Identification of patterns in long-term change for nutrient trends in hydrological catchments in England & Wales is required to assess impacts of nutrient management policy and provide better evidence for future policy. Such information could provide essential evidence for supporting policy by combining information from the wider catchment, rather than relying on the analysis of data from individual sites. Surface water quality is subject to considerable spatial and short-period temporal variability, reflecting variability in loading and dilution. This makes it difficult to determine temporal trends at individual monitoring sites with relatively sparse sampling. Here we apply spatiotemporal statistical additive models for both nitrogen and phosphorus in river networks across England & Wales to investigate the overall pattern of nutrient concentrations in these river surface waters over the past 20–40 years. Concentrations of Orthophosphate (OP) have generally decreased over time for many of the Large Hydrological Areas with a seasonal pattern highlighting one peak in the summer months. Over the past ten years, Total Oxidised Nitrogen (Nitrate + Nitrite, TON) concentrations have generally been slowly decreasing or fairly constant. However, prior to 2000, concentrations were generally on an upward trend. The seasonal pattern highlights one trough in the summer months. The highest levels for OP and TON broadly occur in the same general areas across England and Wales. On average, over time, the lowest values are evident in the north-west and south-west (particularly for OP) and highest values are evident in the Midlands, Anglian and Southern regions.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Scott, Professor E Marian and O'Donnell, Dr Ruth and Pannullo, Miss Francesca and Miller, Dr Claire and Bowman, Professor Adrian and Lee, Professor Duncan
Authors: Miller, C., Magdalina, A.-M., Willows, R., Bowman, A., Scott, E., Lee, D., Burgess, C., Pope, L., Pannullo, F., and Haggarty, R.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Mathematics and Statistics > Statistics
Journal Name:Science of the Total Environment
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0048-9697
ISSN (Online):1879-1026

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