Articles | Volume 27, issue 1
Research article
 | Highlight paper
13 Jan 2023
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 13 Jan 2023

Droughts can reduce the nitrogen retention capacity of catchments

Carolin Winter, Tam V. Nguyen, Andreas Musolff, Stefanie R. Lutz, Michael Rode, Rohini Kumar, and Jan H. Fleckenstein

Related authors

Nitrate and Water Isotopes as Tools to Resolve Nitrate Transit Times in a Mixed Land Use Catchment
Christina Franziska Radtke, Xiaoqiang Yang, Christin Müller, Jarno Rouhiainen, Ralf Merz, Stefanie R. Lutz, Paolo Benettin, Hong Wei, and Kay Knöller
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss.,,, 2024
Preprint under review for HESS
Short summary
Global catalog of soil moisture droughts over the past four decades
Jan Řehoř, Rudolf Brázdil, Oldřich Rakovec, Martin Hanel, Milan Fischer, Rohini Kumar, Jan Balek, Markéta Poděbradská, Vojtěch Moravec, Luis Samaniego, and Miroslav Trnka
EGUsphere,,, 2024
Short summary
Graphical representation of global water models
Hannes Müller Schmied, Simon Newland Gosling, Marlo Garnsworthy, Laura Müller, Camelia-Eliza Telteu, Atiq Kainan Ahmed, Lauren Seaby Andersen, Julien Boulange, Peter Burek, Jinfeng Chang, He Chen, Manolis Grillakis, Luca Guillaumot, Naota Hanasaki, Aristeidis Koutroulis, Rohini Kumar, Guoyong Leng, Junguo Liu, Xingcai Liu, Inga Menke, Vimal Mishra, Yadu Pokhrel, Oldrich Rakovec, Luis Samaniego, Yusuke Satoh, Harsh Lovekumar Shah, Mikhail Smilovic, Tobias Stacke, Edwin Sutanudjaja, Wim Thiery, Athanasios Tsilimigkras, Yoshihide Wada, Niko Wanders, and Tokuta Yokohata
EGUsphere,,, 2024
Short summary
Diurnal versus spatial variability of greenhouse gas emissions from an anthropogenically modified lowland river in Germany
Matthias Koschorreck, Norbert Kamjunke, Uta Koedel, Michael Rode, Claudia Schuetze, and Ingeborg Bussmann
Biogeosciences, 21, 1613–1628,,, 2024
Short summary
Gridded dataset of nitrogen and phosphorus point sources from wastewater in Germany (1950–2019)
Fanny J. Sarrazin, Sabine Attinger, and Rohini Kumar
Earth Syst. Sci. Data Discuss.,,, 2024
Preprint under review for ESSD
Short summary

Related subject area

Subject: Catchment hydrology | Techniques and Approaches: Theory development
Stream water sourcing from high-elevation snowpack inferred from stable isotopes of water: a novel application of d-excess values
Matthias Sprenger, Rosemary W. H. Carroll, David Marchetti, Carleton Bern, Harsh Beria, Wendy Brown, Alexander Newman, Curtis Beutler, and Kenneth H. Williams
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 28, 1711–1723,,, 2024
Short summary
Elasticity curves describe streamflow sensitivity to precipitation across the entire flow distribution
Bailey J. Anderson, Manuela I. Brunner, Louise J. Slater, and Simon J. Dadson
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 28, 1567–1583,,, 2024
Short summary
Seasonal and interannual dissolved organic carbon transport process dynamics in a subarctic headwater catchment revealed by high-resolution measurements
Danny Croghan, Pertti Ala-Aho, Jeffrey Welker, Kaisa-Riikka Mustonen, Kieran Khamis, David M. Hannah, Jussi Vuorenmaa, Bjørn Kløve, and Hannu Marttila
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 28, 1055–1070,,, 2024
Short summary
Links between seasonal suprapermafrost groundwater, the hydrothermal change of the active layer, and river runoff in alpine permafrost watersheds
Jia Qin, Yongjian Ding, Faxiang Shi, Junhao Cui, Yaping Chang, Tianding Han, and Qiudong Zhao
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 28, 973–987,,, 2024
Short summary
Technical note: Isotopic fractionation of evaporating waters: effect of sub-daily atmospheric variations and eventual depletion of heavy isotopes
Francesc Gallart, Sebastián González-Fuentes, and Pilar Llorens
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 28, 229–239,,, 2024
Short summary

Cited articles

Andersen, C. B., Lewis, G. P., and Sargent, K. A.: Influence of wastewater-treatment effluent on concentrations and fluxes of solutes in the Bush River, South Carolina, during extreme drought conditions, Environ. Geosci., 11, 28–41,, 2004. 
Bieroza, M., Bergström, L., Ulén, B., Djodjic, F., Tonderski, K., Heeb, A., Svensson, J., and Malgeryd, J.: Hydrologic Extremes and Legacy Sources Can Override Efforts to Mitigate Nutrient and Sediment Losses at the Catchment Scale, J. Environ. Qual., 48, 1314–1324,, 2019. 
Burt, T. P., Worrall, F., Howden, N. J. K., and Anderson, M. G.: Shifts in discharge-concentration relationships as a small catchment recover from severe drought, Hydrol. Process., 29, 498–507,, 2015. 
Campbell, C. A. and Biederbeck, V. O.: Changes in mineral N and numbers of bacteria and actinomycetes during two years under wheat-fallow in Southwestern Saskatchewan, Can. J. Soil Sci., 62, 125–137,, 1982. 
Casquin, A., Dupas, R., Gu, S., Couic, E., Gruau, G., and Durand, P.: The influence of landscape spatial configuration on nitrogen and phosphorus exports in agricultural catchments, Landsc. Ecol., 36, 3383–3399,, 2021. 
Executive editor
Understanding how catchments respond to change is a central theme of the work of many hydrologists around the world, however, it is fair to say that the vast majority of these studies have focused on water quantity. This study is unique in that it represents a very detailed treatment of how water quality changes due to drought, which is a topic that is becoming ever so important with the rapid changes happening in warming climate for many regions of the world. The authors very cleverly combine both complex models and data-driven analyses to elucidate the effects of extreme drought on river water quality.
Short summary
The increasing frequency of severe and prolonged droughts threatens our freshwater resources. While we understand drought impacts on water quantity, its effects on water quality remain largely unknown. Here, we studied the impact of the unprecedented 2018–2019 drought in Central Europe on nitrate export in a heterogeneous mesoscale catchment in Germany. We show that severe drought can reduce a catchment's capacity to retain nitrogen, intensifying the internal pollution and export of nitrate.