Mapping eutrophication risk from climate change: future phosphorus concentrations in English rivers

Charlton, Matthew B.; Bowes, Michael J. ORCID:; Hutchins, Michael G. ORCID:; Orr, Harriet G.; Soley, Rob; Davison, Paul. 2018 Mapping eutrophication risk from climate change: future phosphorus concentrations in English rivers. Science of the Total Environment, 613-614. 1510-1526.

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Climate change is expected to increase eutrophication risk in rivers yet few studies identify the timescale or spatial extent of such impacts. Phosphorus concentration, considered the primary driver of eutrophication risk in English rivers, may increase through reduced dilution particularly if river flows are lower in summer. Detailed models can indicate change in catchment phosphorus concentrations but targeted support for mitigation measures requires a national scale evaluation of risk. In this study, a load apportionment model is used to describe the current relationship between flow and total reactive phosphorus (TRP) at 115 river sites across England. These relationships are used to estimate TRP concentrations for the 2050s under 11 climate change driven scenarios of future river flows and under scenarios of both current and higher levels of sewage treatment. National maps of change indicate a small but inconsistent increase in annual average TRP concentrations with a greater change in summer. Reducing the TRP concentration of final sewage effluent to 0.5 mg/L P for all upstream sewage treatment works was inadequate to meet existing P standards required through the EU Water Framework Directive, indicating that more needs to be done, including efforts to reduce diffuse pollution.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pollution (Science Area 2017-)
Water Resources (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0048-9697
Additional Keywords: climate change adaptation, Water Framework Directive, orthophosphate, future-river flows
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 12 Dec 2017 17:05 +0 (UTC)

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