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Title: Water and Nutrient Balances in a Large Tile-Drained Agricultural Catchment: A Distributed Modeling Study

Abstract

This paper presents the development and implementation of a distributed model of coupled water nutrient processes, based on the representative elementary watershed (REW) approach, to the Upper Sangamon River Basin, a large, tile-drained agricultural basin located in central Illinois, mid-west of USA. Comparison of model predictions with the observed hydrological and biogeochemical data, as well as regional estimates from literature studies, shows that the model is capable of capturing the dynamics of water, sediment and nutrient cycles reasonably well. The model is then used as a tool to gain insights into the physical and chemical processes underlying the inter- and intra-annual variability of water and nutrient balances. Model predictions show that about 80% of annual runoff is contributed by tile drainage, while the remainder comes from surface runoff (mainly saturation excess flow) and subsurface runoff. It is also found that, at the annual scale nitrogen storage in the soil is depleted during wet years, and is supplemented during dry years. This carryover of nitrogen storage from dry year to wet year is mainly caused by the lateral loading of nitrate. Phosphorus storage, on the other hand, is not affected much by wet/dry conditions simply because the leaching of it ismore » very minor compared to the other mechanisms taking phosphorous out of the basin, such as crop harvest. The analysis then turned to the movement of nitrate with runoff. Model results suggested that nitrate loading from hillslope into the channel is preferentially carried by tile drainage. Once in the stream it is then subject to in-stream denitrification, the significant spatio-temporal variability of which can be related to the variation of the hydrologic and hydraulic conditions across the river network.« less

Authors:
; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
993658
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-76358
TRN: US201023%%545
DOE Contract Number:
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 14(11):2259-2275; Journal Volume: 14; Journal Issue: 11
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; DENITRIFICATION; DRAINAGE; HYDRAULICS; IMPLEMENTATION; LEACHING; NITRATES; NITROGEN; NUTRIENTS; PHOSPHORUS; RIVERS; RUNOFF; SATURATION; SEDIMENTS; SIMULATION; SOILS; STORAGE; WATER; WATERSHEDS; coupled modeling framework, tile drainage, process interaction

Citation Formats

Li, Hongyi, Sivapalan, Murugesu, Tian, Fuqiang, and Liu, Dengfeng. Water and Nutrient Balances in a Large Tile-Drained Agricultural Catchment: A Distributed Modeling Study. United States: N. p., 2010. Web. doi:10.5194/hess-14-2259-2010.
Li, Hongyi, Sivapalan, Murugesu, Tian, Fuqiang, & Liu, Dengfeng. Water and Nutrient Balances in a Large Tile-Drained Agricultural Catchment: A Distributed Modeling Study. United States. doi:10.5194/hess-14-2259-2010.
Li, Hongyi, Sivapalan, Murugesu, Tian, Fuqiang, and Liu, Dengfeng. 2010. "Water and Nutrient Balances in a Large Tile-Drained Agricultural Catchment: A Distributed Modeling Study". United States. doi:10.5194/hess-14-2259-2010.
@article{osti_993658,
title = {Water and Nutrient Balances in a Large Tile-Drained Agricultural Catchment: A Distributed Modeling Study},
author = {Li, Hongyi and Sivapalan, Murugesu and Tian, Fuqiang and Liu, Dengfeng},
abstractNote = {This paper presents the development and implementation of a distributed model of coupled water nutrient processes, based on the representative elementary watershed (REW) approach, to the Upper Sangamon River Basin, a large, tile-drained agricultural basin located in central Illinois, mid-west of USA. Comparison of model predictions with the observed hydrological and biogeochemical data, as well as regional estimates from literature studies, shows that the model is capable of capturing the dynamics of water, sediment and nutrient cycles reasonably well. The model is then used as a tool to gain insights into the physical and chemical processes underlying the inter- and intra-annual variability of water and nutrient balances. Model predictions show that about 80% of annual runoff is contributed by tile drainage, while the remainder comes from surface runoff (mainly saturation excess flow) and subsurface runoff. It is also found that, at the annual scale nitrogen storage in the soil is depleted during wet years, and is supplemented during dry years. This carryover of nitrogen storage from dry year to wet year is mainly caused by the lateral loading of nitrate. Phosphorus storage, on the other hand, is not affected much by wet/dry conditions simply because the leaching of it is very minor compared to the other mechanisms taking phosphorous out of the basin, such as crop harvest. The analysis then turned to the movement of nitrate with runoff. Model results suggested that nitrate loading from hillslope into the channel is preferentially carried by tile drainage. Once in the stream it is then subject to in-stream denitrification, the significant spatio-temporal variability of which can be related to the variation of the hydrologic and hydraulic conditions across the river network.},
doi = {10.5194/hess-14-2259-2010},
journal = {Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 14(11):2259-2275},
number = 11,
volume = 14,
place = {United States},
year = 2010,
month =
}
  • Here, locating bioenergy crops on strategically selected subfield areas of marginal interest for commodity agriculture can increase environmental sustainability. Location and choice of bioenergy crops should improve environmental benefits with minimal disruption of current food production systems. We identified subfield soils of a tile-drained agricultural watershed as marginal if they had areas of low crop productivity index (CPI), were susceptible to nitrate-nitrogen (NO 3–N) leaching, or were susceptible to at least two other forms of environmental degradation (marginal areas). In the test watershed (Indian Creek watershed, IL) with annual precipitation of 852 mm, 3% of soils were CPI areas andmore » 22% were marginal areas. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool was used to forecast the impact of growing switchgrass ( Panicum virgatum L.), willow ( Salix spp.), and big bluestem ( Andropogon gerardi Vitman) in these subfield areas on annual grain yields, NO 3–N and sediment exports, and water yield. Simulated conversion of CPI areas from current land use to bioenergy crops had no significant (p ≤ 0.05) impact on grain production and reduced NO 3–N and sediment exports by 5.0 to 6.0% and 3.0%, respectively. Conversion of marginal areas from current land use to switchgrass forecasted the production of 34,000 t of biomass and reductions in NO 3–N (26.0%) and sediment (33.0%) exports. Alternatively, conversion of marginal areas from current land use to willow forecasted similar reductions as switchgrass for sediment but significantly (p ≤ 0.01) lower reductions in annual NO 3–N export (18.0 vs. 26.0%).« less
  • The Amazon basin experienced periodic droughts in the past, and climate models projected more intense and frequent droughts in the future. How tropical forests respond to drought may depend on water availability, which is modulated by landscape heterogeneity. Using the one-dimensional ACME Land Model (ALM) and the three-dimensional ParFlow variably saturated flow model, a series of numerical experiments were performed for the Asu catchment in central Amazon to elucidate processes that influence water available for plant use and provide insights for improving Earth system models. Results from ParFlow show that topography has a dominant influence on groundwater table and runoffmore » through lateral flow. Without any representations of lateral processes, ALM simulates very different seasonal variations in groundwater table and runoff compared to ParFlow even if it is able to reproduce the long-term spatial average groundwater table of ParFlow through simple parameter calibration. In the ParFlow simulations, the groundwater table is evidently deeper and the soil saturation is lower in the plateau compared to the valley. However, even in the plateau during the dry season in the drought year of 2005, plant transpiration is not water stressed in the ParFlow simulations as the soil saturation is still sufficient to maintain a soil matric potential for the stomata to be fully open. This finding is insensitive to uncertainty in atmospheric forcing and soil parameters, but the empirical wilting formulation used in the models is an important factor that should be addressed using observations and modeling of coupled plant hydraulics-soil hydrology processes in future studies.« less
  • Leaching of NO/sub 3/ with drainage water from tile-drained field plots and from three types of lysimeters was estimated during a 4-yr period. Treatments included barley (Hordeum distichum L.) with and without N-fertilizer, a grass ley (Festuca pratensis), and a lucerne ley (Medicago sativa) (i.e., 4-yr forage crops). The maximum amount of NO/sub 3/ leached was 36 kg N ha/sup -1/ yr/sup -1/ for barley fertilized with Ca(NO/sub 3/)/sub 2/ (120 kg N ha/sup -1/ yr/sup -1/). For unfertilized barley the corresponding amount was 5 kg N ha/sup -1/ during the same period. The NO/sub 3/ fluxes from the grassmore » and lucerne leys were mostly below 5 kg N ha/sup -1/ yr/sup -1/. However, after the grass ley was plowed, considerable leaching occurred, reaching 42 kg N ha/sup -1/ during 20 weeks following plowing. Weather conditions had a strong influence on the temporal distribution of leaching losses. Lysimeters compared with tile-drained plots, had generally higher drainage volumes. The slow dynamics of ground water beneath the drainage-tiles can explain most of this difference. Lysimeters with disturbed soil profiles usually had higher drainage volumes than lysimeters with undisturbed profiles. Despite these differences, all methods consistently estimated the relative differences between the cropping systems concerning leaching of NO/sub 3/. The degree of variation in drainage flow between lysimeter replicates was also satisfactorily low.« less
  • With the rapid growth of the Albuquerque region, groundwater contamination from nonpoint sources has become an increasing concern. Agriculture, one major land usage of the basin area, can abe responsible for the leaching of nutrients and chemicals to shallow groundwater via irrigation return flows. Even so, there is almost no available information regarding agricultural impacts on groundwater quality in New Mexico. The major objective of this project has been to develop a data base pertaining to this issue. The main goals of this project are: to adapt the tile drainage system to allow for the collection of irrigation return flowsmore » on an actual, operating farm; to utilize the tile drain sampling system to quantify nutrient and pesticide levels in the irrigation return flow; to determine the local hydrology in an around the field site; and to use the collected field data to test the two-dimensional water flow and chemical transport model (CHAIN 2-D).« less
  • The rapid rates of sediment accumulation (approx.10-20 cm/yr) in the recently formed Cape Lookout Bight, North Carolina, have resulted in the deposition of approximately 157 moles of carbon, 14 moles of nitrogen and 1.3 moles of phosphorus, per square meter annually. The metabolism of the organic matter in these anoxic sediments is dominated by sulfate reduction and fermentation reactions. Sedimentary nitrogen and phosphorus budgets are estimated using 3 related approaches: 1) a kinetic model of solid phase diagenesis; 2) direct measurements of nutrient burial and regeneration; and 3) nutrient recycling rates estimated from annual rates of sulfate reduction and themore » SO/sub 4/:NH/sub 4/ and SO/sub 4/:PO/sub 4/ stoichiometry of nutrient regeneration. The mass balances derived agree reasonably well and indicate that approximately 30% of the total nitrogen and 15% of the total phosphorus deposited in these sediments are recycled. The mean residence time for recycled nutrients within the sediment is 4 to 6 months for nitrogen and 1.5 to 2 years for phosphorus. Nitrogen regeneration, like carbon, appears to be controlled by the microbially-mediated metabolism of labile organic matter. The greater asymmetry and lower percent turnover in phosphorus cycling is apparently due to changes in its solubility under oxidized and reduced conditions and selective regeneration prior to deposition.« less