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Spatio-temporal variability of stream-flow and solute concentrations

Types of concentration-discharge (C-Q) relationships (example: Total Phosphorus)

An understanding of catchment response to climate and land use change at a regional scale is necessary for the assessment of mitigation and adaptation options addressing diffuse nutrient pollution. It is well documented that the physicochemical properties of a river ecosystem respond to change in a non-linear fashion.

To gain insights into solute export behaviour from Scottish catchments under current conditions, the spatio-temporal variability of stream-flow and solute concentrations and concentration-discharge-relationships are explored with focus on the Harmonized Monitoring Scheme catchments. To maximise the information content of the data obtained from statutory monitoring, a new approach to investigate hysteretic relationships between concentration-and discharge for low temporal resolution solute concentrations and daily river discharge is being developed. Catchment controls such as topography, soil and land management are investigated.

Long-term trends in solute concentrations are analysed and related to changes in stream-flow, climatic conditions and land management which allows assessing the sensitivities of solute concentrations to past and potential future drivers of change.

Understanding the relationship between catchment characteristics and their biogeochemical responses to pressures as expressed by variability in concentrations and concentration-discharge relationships will allow us to inform regulatory water quality monitoring strategies, improve existing water quality models, and model mitigation and adaptation scenarios to global change in data-sparse catchments.


Areas of Interest

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.