Climate change effects on nitrogen loading from cultivated catchments in Europe: implications for nitrogen retention, ecological state of lakes and adaptation

Jeppesen,Jeppesen, Erik,Erik
Kronvang, Brian
Olesen, Jorgen E.
Audet, Joachim
Sondergaard, Martin
Hoffmann, Carl C.
Andersen, Hans E.
Lauridsen, Torben L.
Liboriussen, Lone
Larsen, Soren E.
Beklioglu, Meryem
Meerhoff,Meerhoff, Mariana,Mariana
Özen, Arda
Özkan, Korhan
Climate change might have profound effects on the nitrogen (N) dynamics in the cultivated landscape as well as on N transport in streams and the eutrophication of lakes. N loading from land to streams is expected to increase in North European temperate lakes due to higher winter rainfall and changes in cropping patterns. Scenario (IPCC, A2) analyses using a number of models of various complexity for Danish streams and lakes suggest an increase in runoff and N transport on an annual basis (higher during winter and typically lower during summer) in streams, a slight increase in N concentrations in streams despite higher losses in riparian wetlands, higher absolute retention of N in lakes (but not as percentage of loading), but only minor changes in lake water concentrations. However, when taking into account also a predicted higher temperature there is a risk of higher frequency and abundance of potentially toxic cyanobacteria in lakes and they may stay longer during the season. Somewhat higher risk of loss of submerged macrophytes at increased N and phosphorus (P) loading and a shift to dominance of small-sized fish preying upon the key grazers on phytoplankton may also enhance the risk of lake shifts from clear to turbid in a warmer North European temperate climate. However, it must be emphasised that the prediction of N transport and thus effects is uncertain as the prediction of regional precipitation and changes in land-use is uncertain. By contrast, N loading is expected to decline in warm temperate and arid climates. However, in warm arid lakes much higher N concentrations are currently observed despite reduced external loading. This is due to increased evapotranspiration leading to higher nutrient concentrations in the remaining water, but may also reflect a low-oxygen induced reduction of nitrification. Therefore, the critical N as well as P loading for good ecological state in lakes likely has to be lower in a future warmer climate in both north temperate and Mediterranean lakes. To obtain this objective, adaptation measures are required. In both climate zones the obvious methods are to change agricultural practices for reducing the loss of nutrients to surface waters, to improve sewage treatment and to reduce the storm-water nutrient runoff. In north temperate zones adaptations may also include re-establishment of artificial and natural wetlands, introduction of riparian buffer zones and re-meandering of channelised streams, which may all have a large impact on, not least, the N loading of lakes. In the arid zone, also restrictions on human use of water are urgently needed, not least on the quantity of water used for irrigation purposes.


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Jeppesen, Erik; Kronvang, Brian; Meerhoff, Mariana; Sondergaard, Martin; Hansen, Kristina M.; Andersen, Hans E.; Lauridsen, Torben L.; Liboriussen, Lone; Beklioğlu, Meryem; Ozen, Arda; Olesen, Jorgen E. (Wiley, 2009-09-01)
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The water balance, with large seasonal and annual water level fluctuations, has a critical influence on the nitrogen and phosphorus dynamics of shallow lakes in the semi-arid climate zone. We constructed seasonal water and nutrient budgets for two connected shallow lakes, Lakes Mogan and Eymir, located in Central Anatolia, Turkey. The study period covered 20 years with alternations between dry and wet years as well as restoration efforts including sewage effluent diversion and biomanipulations in Lake Eymir...
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Hao, Beibei; Wu, Haoping; Zhen, Wei; Jo, Hyunbin; Cai, Yanpeng; Jeppesen, Erik; Li, Wei (Frontiers Media SA, 2020-4-9)
Periphyton plays an important role in lake ecosystems processes, especially at low and intermediate nutrient levels where periphyton contribution to primary production can be similar to or exceed that of phytoplankton. Knowledge of how periphyton responds to key drivers such as climate change and nutrient enrichment is, therefore, crucial. We conducted a series of mesocosm experiments over four seasons to elucidate the responses of periphyton communities to nutrient (low and high, TN-0.33 mg L-1 TP-7.1 mu g...
Citation Formats
J. Jeppesen et al., “Climate change effects on nitrogen loading from cultivated catchments in Europe: implications for nitrogen retention, ecological state of lakes and adaptation,” HYDROBIOLOGIA, pp. 1–21, 2011, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: