The flux of dissolved nitrogen from the UK — Evaluating the role of soils and land use

Fred Worrall*, Helen Davies, Tim Burt, Nicholas J. K. Howden, Mick J. Whelan, Anne Bhogal, Allan Lilly

*Corresponding author for this work

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

24 Citations (Scopus)


Fluvial dissolved nitrogen (dissolved organic nitrogen [DON], nitrate and ammonium) fluxes from the terrestrial biosphere of the UK to surrounding oceans are explained on the basis of combined predictions of soil to water transfer and in-stream loss. The flux of different nitrogen species from land to surface waters is estimated using an export coefficient model employing catchment soil, land use and hydroclimatic characteristics, fitted to flux estimates derived from the Harmonised Monitoring Scheme between 2001 and 2007 for 169 UK catchments. In-stream losses of DON, nitrate and ammonium were estimated using a transit time filter in the fluvial network. Comparisons of modelled land to water N flux (2125 ktonnes N yr− 1) with estimates of N fluxes to estuarine and ocean systems at the tidal limit (791 ktonnes N yr− 1) suggest that significant in-channel N losses occur. These in transit losses are equivalent to up to 55 kg N ha− 1 yr− 1.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-100
Number of pages11
JournalScience of The Total Environment
Early online date16 Mar 2012
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2012

Structured keywords

  • Water and Environmental Engineering


  • Nitrogen
  • In-stream losses
  • Budgets
  • Land-use


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