Nonpoint-source nitrogen and phosphorus behavior and modeling in cold climate: a review

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Pollution from nonpoint-source (NPS) nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are the main causes of eutrophication in lotic, lentic and coastal systems. The climate of cold regions might play an important role in disturbing environmental behavior of NPS N and P, influencing simulation of watershed scale hydrologic and nonpoint-source pollution models. The losses of NPS N and P increase in regions of cold climate. In cold seasons, accumulations of N and P are accelerated in soil with increasing fine root and aboveground biomass mortality, decreasing plant nutrient uptake, as well as freezing soil. N and P transformation is disturbed by soil frost and snow. Moreover, factors such as physical disruption of soil aggregates, pollutant accumulation in snowpack, and snow melting can all increase the NPS N and P losses to the waterbody. Therefore, NPS N and P in first flush are more serious in cold climate. All these effects, especially frozen soil and snowpack, make great challenges to watershed scale hydrologic and nonpoint-source pollution models simulation in cold climate. Model improvements of snowmelt runoff, nutrient losses in frozen soil, as well as N and P behavior have been initiated and will be continued to evaluate in terms of their performances and suitability with different scale, hydrologic and geologic conditions in the future.

Keywords: cold climate, nitrogen, nonpoint-source, phosphorus, SWAT

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