Articles | Volume 20, issue 2
Research article
23 Feb 2016
Research article |  | 23 Feb 2016

Nitrate sinks and sources as controls of spatio-temporal water quality dynamics in an agricultural headwater catchment

Tobias Schuetz, Chantal Gascuel-Odoux, Patrick Durand, and Markus Weiler

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Cited articles

Alexander, R. B., Böhlke, J. K., Boyer, E. W., David, M. B., Harvey, J. W., Mulholland, P. J., Seitzinger, S. P., Tobias, C. R., Tonitto, C., and Wollheim, W. M.: Dynamic modeling of nitrogen losses in river networks unravels the coupled effects of hydrological and biogeochemical processes, Biogeochemistry, 93, 91–116,, 2009.
Aquilina, L., Vergnaud-Ayraud, V., Labasque, T., Bour, O., Molénat, J., Ruiz, L., de Montety, V., De Ridder, J., Roques, C., and Longuevergne, L.: Nitrate dynamics in agricultural catchments deduced from groundwater dating and long-term nitrate monitoring in surface and groundwaters, Sci. Total Environ., 435–436, 167–178,, 2012.
Basu, N. B., Destouni, G., Jawitz, J. W., Thompson, S. E., Loukinova, N. V, Darracq, A., Zanardo, S., Yaeger, M., Sivapalan, M., Rinaldo, A., and Rao, P. S. C.: Nutrient loads exported from managed catchments reveal emergent biogeochemical stationarity, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L23404,, 2010.
Basu, N. B., Rao, P. S. C., Thompson, S. E., Loukinova, N. V., Donner, S. D., Ye, S., and Sivapalan, M.: Spatiotemporal averaging of in-stream solute removal dynamics, Water Resour. Res., 47, W00J06,, 2011.
Bernhardt, E. S., Hall Jr., R. O., and Likens, G. E.: Whole-system estimates of nitrification and nitrate uptake in streams of the Hubbard Brook Exp. Forest. Ecosyst., 5, 419–430,, 2002.
Short summary
We quantify the spatio-temporal impact of distinct nitrate sinks and sources on stream network nitrate dynamics in an agricultural headwater. By applying a data-driven modelling approach, we are able to fully distinguish between mixing and dilution processes, and biogeochemical in-stream removal processes along the stream network. In-stream nitrate removal is estimated by applying a novel transfer coefficient based on energy availability.