Articles | Volume 7, issue 4
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 7, 447–455, 2003

Special issue: Predicting recovery of acidified freshwaters in Europe and...

Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 7, 447–455, 2003

  31 Aug 2003

31 Aug 2003

A modelling assessment of acidification and recovery of European surface waters

A. Jenkins1, L. Camarero2, B. J. Cosby3, R. C. Ferrier4, M. Forsius5, R. C. Helliwell4, J. Kopácek6, V. Majer7, F. Moldan8, M. Posch9, M. Rogora10, W. Schöpp11, and R. F. Wright12 A. Jenkins et al.
  • 1CEH, Wallingford, Oxon OX10 8BB, UK
  • 2CEAB-CSIC, 17300 Blanes, Girona, Spain
  • 3Department of Environmental Science, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22901, USA
  • 4Macaulay Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen, AB15 8QJ, UK
  • 5Finnish Environment Institute, PO Box 140, FIN-00251 Helsinki, Finland
  • 6Hydrological Institute AS CR, 370 05 Ceské Budejovice, Czech Republic
  • 7Czech Geological Survey, Klarov 3, CZ 118 21, Praha 1
  • 8Swedish Environmental Research Institute, S-402 58 Gothenburg, Sweden
  • 9Coordination Center for Effects, RIVM/CCE, Box 1, NL-3720 BA Bilthoven, The Netherlands
  • 10CNR Institute of Ecosystem Study, I-28922 Verbania Pallanza, Italy
  • 11International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
  • 12Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Box 173 Kjelsås, N-0411 Oslo, Norway
  • Email for corresponding author:

Abstract. The increase in emission of sulphur oxides and nitrogen (both oxidised and reduced forms) since the mid-1800s caused a severe decline in pH and ANC in acid-sensitive surface waters across Europe. Since c.1980, these emissions have declined and trends towards recovery from acidification have been widely observed in time-series of water chemistry data. In this paper, the MAGIC model was applied to 10 regions (the SMART model to one) in Europe to address the question of future recovery under the most recently agreed emission protocols (the 1999 Gothenburg Protocol). The models were calibrated using best available data and driven using S and N deposition sequences for Europe derived from EMEP data. The wide extent and the severity of water acidification in 1980 in many regions were illustrated by model simulations which showed significant deterioration in ANC away from the pre-acidification conditions. The simulations also captured the recovery to 2000 in response to the existing emission reductions. Predictions to 2016 indicated further significant recovery towards pre-acidification chemistry in all regions except Central England (S Pennines), S Alps, S Norway and S Sweden. In these areas it is clear that further emission reductions will be required and that the recovery of surface waters will take several decades as soils slowly replenish their depleted base cation pools. Chemical recovery may not, however, ensure biological recovery and further reductions may also be required to enable these waters to achieve the "good ecological status" as required by the EU Water Framework Directive.

Keywords: Europe, acid-sensitive, waters, predictions, recovery, protocols