Diffuse water pollution during recent extreme wet-weather in the UK: Environmental damage costs and insight into the future?

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Zhang, Y., Granger, S. J., Semenov, M. A., Upadhayay, H. and Collins, A. L. 2022. Diffuse water pollution during recent extreme wet-weather in the UK: Environmental damage costs and insight into the future? Journal of Cleaner Production. 338, p. 130633. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2022.130633

AuthorsZhang, Y., Granger, S. J., Semenov, M. A., Upadhayay, H. and Collins, A. L.
Abstract

Periods of extreme wet-weather elevate agricultural diffuse water pollutant loads and climate projections for the UK suggest wetter winters. Within this context, we monitored nitrate and suspended sediment loss using a field and landscape scale platform in SW England during the recent extreme wet-weather of 2019–2020. We compared the recent extreme wet-weather period to both the climatic baseline (1981–2010) and projected near- (2041–2060) and far- (2071–2090) future climates, using the 95th percentiles of conventional rainfall indices generated for climate scenarios downscaled by the LARS-WG weather generator from the 19 global climate models in the CMIP5 ensemble for the RCP8.5 emission scenario. Finally, we explored relationships between pollutant loss and the rainfall indices. Grassland field-scale monthly average nitrate losses increased from 0.39- to 1.07 kg ha−1 (2016–2019) to 0.70–1.35 kg ha−1 (2019–2020), whereas losses from grassland ploughed up for cereals, increased from 0.63- to 0.83 kg ha−1 to 2.34–4.09 kg ha−1 . Nitrate losses at landscape scale increased during the 2019–2020 extreme wet-weather period to 2.04–4.54 kg ha−1 . Field-scale grassland monthly average sediment losses increased from 92- to 116 kg ha−1 (2016–2019) to 281–333 kg ha−1 (2019–2020), whereas corresponding losses from grassland converted to cereal production increased from 63- to 80 kg ha−1 to 2124–2146 kg ha−1. Landscape scale monthly sediment losses increased from 8- to 37 kg ha−1 in 2018 to between 15 and 173 kg ha−1 during the 2019–2020 wet-weather period. 2019–2020 was most representative of the forecast 95th percentiles of >1 mm rainfall for near- and far-future climates and this rainfall index was related to monitored sediment, but not nitrate, loss. The elevated suspended sediment loads generated by the extreme wet-weather of 2019–2020 therefore potentially provide some insight into the responses to the projected >1 mm rainfall extremes under future climates at the study location.

KeywordsWet-weather ; Climate change; Water quality; Nitrate; Suspended sediment
Year of Publication2022
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Journal citation338, p. 130633
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2022.130633
Web address (URL)https://authors.elsevier.com/sd/article/S0959-6526(22)00274-8
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeS2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 3 (WP3) - Sustainable intensification - optimisation at multiple scales
Publisher's version
Accepted author manuscript
Accepted author manuscript
Supplemental file
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online23 Jan 2022
Publication process dates
Accepted19 Jan 2022
PublisherElsevier Sci Ltd
ISSN0959-6526

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