Phosphorus loss from an agricultural watershed as a function of storm size.

Sharpley, Andrew N. and Kleinman, Peter J. A. and Heathwaite, A. Louise and Gburek, William J. and Folmar, Gordon J. and Schmidt, John P. (2008) Phosphorus loss from an agricultural watershed as a function of storm size. Journal of Environmental Quality, 37 (2). pp. 362-368. ISSN 0047-2425

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Phosphorus (P) loss from agricultural watersheds is generally greater in storm rather than base flow. Although fundamental to P-based risk assessment tools, few studies have quantified the effect of storm size on P loss. Thus, the loss of P as a function of flow type (base and storm flow) and size was quantified for a mixed-land use watershed (FD-36; 39.5 ha) from 1997 to 2006. Storm size was ranked by return period (<1, 1–3, 3–5, 5–10, and >10 yr), where increasing return period represents storms with greater peak and total flow. From 1997 to 2006, storm flow accounted for 32% of watershed discharge yet contributed 65% of dissolved reactive P (DP) (107 g ha–1 yr–1) and 80% of total P (TP) exported (515 g ha–1 yr–1). Of 248 storm flows during this period, 93% had a return period of <1 yr, contributing most of the 10-yr flow (6507 m3 ha–1; 63%) and export of DP (574 g ha–1; 54%) and TP (2423 g ha–1; 47%). Two 10-yr storms contributed 23% of P exported between 1997 and 2006. A significant increase in storm flow DP concentration with storm size (0.09–0.16 mg L–1) suggests that P release from soil and/or area of the watershed producing runoff increase with storm size. Thus, implementation of P-based Best Management Practice needs to consider what level of risk management is acceptable.

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Journal of Environmental Quality
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18 Jan 2010 09:55
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21 Nov 2022 19:42