In this work, we hypothesize that phosphorus (P) concentrations in streams vary seasonally and with streamflow and that it is important to incorporate this variation when predicting changes in P loading associated with climate change. Our study area includes 14 watersheds with a range of land uses throughout the U.S. Great Lakes Basin. We develop annual seasonal load-discharge regression models for each watershed and apply these models with simulated discharges generated for future climate scenarios to simulate future P loading patterns for two periods: 2046–2065 and 2081–2100. We utilize output from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 downscaled climate change projections that are input into the Large Basin Runoff Model to generate future discharge scenarios, which are in turn used as inputs to the seasonal P load regression models. In almost all cases, the seasonal load-discharge models match observed loads better than the annual models. Results using the seasonal models show that the concurrence of nonlinearity in the load-discharge model and changes in high discharges in the spring months leads to the most significant changes in P loading for selected tributaries under future climate projections. These results emphasize the importance of using seasonal models to understand the effects of future climate change on nutrient loads.
|Title||The importance of considering shifts in seasonal changes in discharges when predicting future phosphorus loads in streams|
|Authors||Meredith B. LaBeau, Alex S. Mayer, Veronica Griffis, David Jr. Watkins, Dale M. Robertson, Rabi Gyawali|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Wisconsin Water Science Center|