Articles | Volume 18, issue 4
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 1467–1473, 2014
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 1467–1473, 2014

Technical note 16 Apr 2014

Technical note | 16 Apr 2014

Technical Note: Alternative in-stream denitrification equation for the INCA-N model

J. R. Etheridge1, F. Birgand1, M. R. Burchell II1, A. Lepistö2, K. Rankinen2, and K. Granlund2 J. R. Etheridge et al.
  • 1North Carolina State University, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering Campus Box 7625, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
  • 2Finnish Environment Institute, P.O. Box 140, 00251, Helsinki, Finland

Abstract. The Integrated Catchment model for Nitrogen (INCA-N) is a semi-distributed, process based model that has been used to model the impacts of land use, climate, and land management changes on hydrology and nitrogen loading. An observed problem with the INCA-N model is reproducing low nitrate–nitrogen concentrations during the summer growing season in some catchments. In this study, the current equation used to simulate the rate of in-stream denitrification was replaced with an alternate equation that uses a mass transfer coefficient and the stream bottom area. The results of simulating in-stream denitrification using the two different methods were compared for a one year simulation period of the Yläneenjoki catchment in Finland. The alternate equation (Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency = 0.61) simulated concentrations during the periods of the growing season with the lowest flow that were closer to the observed concentrations than the current equation (Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency = 0.60), but the results were mixed during other portions of the year. The results of the calibration and validation of the model using the two equations show that the alternate equation will simulate lower nitrate–nitrogen concentrations during the growing season when compared to the current equation, but promote investigation into other errors in the model that may be causing inaccuracies in the modeled concentrations.