Articles | Volume 5, issue 3
30 Sep 2001
30 Sep 2001

Modelling effects of acid deposition and climate change on soil and run-off chemistry at Risdalsheia, Norway

J. P. Mol-Dijkstra and H. Kros

Abstract. Elevated carbon dioxide levels, caused by anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, and higher temperature may lead to increased plant growth and uptake of nitrogen, but increased temperature may lead to increased nitrogen mineralisation causing enhanced nitrogen leaching. The overall result of both counteracting effects is largely unknown. To gain insight into the long-term effects, the geochemical model SMART2 was applied using data from the catchment-scale experiments of the RAIN and CLIMEX projects, conducted on boreal forest ecosystems at Risdalsheia, southern Norway. These unique experiments at the ecosystem scale provide information on the short-term effects and interactions of nitrogen deposition and increased temperature and carbon dioxide on carbon and nitrogen cycling and especially the run-off chemistry. To predict changes in soil processes in response to climate change, the model was extended by including the temperature effect on mineralisation, nitrification, denitrification, aluminium dissolution and mineral weathering. The extended model was tested on the two manipulated catchments at Risdalsheia and long-term effects were evaluated by performing long-time runs. The effects of climate change treatment, which resulted in increased nitrogen fluxes at both catchments, were slightly overestimated by SMART2. The temperature dependency of mineralisation was simulated adequately but the temperature effect on nitrification was slightly overestimated. Monitored changes in base cation concentrations and pH were quite well simulated with SMART2. The long-term simulations indicate that the increase in nitrogen run-off is only a temporary effect; in the long-term, no effect on total nitrogen leaching is predicted. At higher deposition levels the temporary increase in nitrogen leaching lasts longer than at low deposition. Contrary to nitrogen leaching, temperature increase leads to a permanent decrease in aluminium concentrations and pH.

Keywords: elevated carbon dioxide, temperature, forest ecosystem, modelling, nitrogen run-off.