Major agricultural changes required to mitigate phosphorus losses under climate change

Ockenden, Mary Catherine and Hollaway, Michael John and Beven, Keith John and Collins, Adrian and Evans, Robert and Falloon, Peter and Forber, Kirsty Jessica and Hiscock, Kevin and Kahana, Ron and Macleod, Kit and Tych, Wlodzimierz and Villamizar, Martha and Wearing, Catherine Louise and Withers, Paul and Zhou, Jian and Barker, Philip Anthony and Burke, Sean and Freer, Jim and Johnes, Penny and Snell, Maria and Surridge, Benjamin William James and Haygarth, Philip Matthew (2017) Major agricultural changes required to mitigate phosphorus losses under climate change. Nature Communications, 8. ISSN 2041-1723

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Phosphorus (P) losses from land to water will be impacted by climate change and land management for food production, with detrimental impacts on aquatic ecosystems. Here we use a unique combination of methods to evaluate the impact of projected climate change on future P transfers, and to assess what scale of agricultural change would be needed to mitigate these transfers. We combine novel high frequency P flux data from three representative catchments across the UK, a new high spatial resolution climate model, uncertainty estimates from an ensemble of future climate simulations, two P transfer models of contrasting complexity and a simplified representation of the potential intensification of agriculture based on expert elicitation from land managers. We show that the effect of climate change on average winter P loads (predicted increase up to 30% by 2050s) will be limited only by large scale agricultural changes (e.g. 20-80% reduction in P inputs).

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Journal Article
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Nature Communications
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Deposited On:
10 Aug 2017 08:54
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 04:41