Past acidification and recovery of surface waters, soils and ecology in the United Kingdom: Prospects for the future under current deposition and land use protocols

R. C. Helliwell*, J. Aherne, G. MacDougall, T. R. Nisbet, D. Lawson, B. J. Cosby, C. D. Evans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The dynamic hydrogeochemical model MAGIC has been applied extensively throughout Europe and North America and has proven to be a valuable tool for predicting the chemical response of catchment soils and surface waters to future changes in atmospheric pollution and land use. Here we present an application of MAGIC to 22 sites in the UK Acid Waters Monitoring Network (UKAWMN) that incorporated uncertainty in model calibration (using 20 years of surface water observations) to evaluate past acidification and prospects for future recovery in surface waters, soils and key ecological indicators. Simulated ANC in 1860 indicated that prior to industrialisation, all UKAWMN surface waters were above the critical acid neutralising capacity (ANC) limit of 20 mu eq l(-1), with the exception of a naturally acid site, underlain by granite with large expanses of bare rock, scree and eroded peat in Northern Ireland (Blue Lough); this site had a baseline ANC value

There was clear evidence of biological recovery by 2015 with some sites returning close to their pre-industrial biological status (Alit a'Mharcaidh) while at others (including Loch Grannoch and River Etherow) predicted recovery was incomplete for one or more of the studied indicator species. Crown Copyright (C) 2013 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-395
Number of pages15
JournalEcological Indicators
Volume37
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014

Keywords

  • Acidification
  • Recovery
  • Acid deposition
  • Forestry
  • Model
  • UNCERTAINTY PROPAGATION APPROACH
  • LONG-TERM CHANGES
  • ACID DEPOSITION
  • MAGIC MODEL
  • BAYESIAN CALIBRATION
  • PARAMETER-ESTIMATION
  • NITROGEN DYNAMICS
  • CATCHMENT MODEL
  • SCOTLAND
  • IMPACTS

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