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How well can we model stream phosphorus concentrations in agricultural catchments?

Jackson-Blake, L. A., Dunn, S. M., Helliwell, R. C., Skeffington, R. A., Stutter, M. I. and Wade, A. J. (2015) How well can we model stream phosphorus concentrations in agricultural catchments? Environmental Modelling and Software, 64. pp. 31-46. ISSN 1364-8152

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2014.11.002

Abstract/Summary

Mechanistic catchment-scale phosphorus models appear to perform poorly where diffuse sources dominate. We investigate the reasons for this for one model, INCA-P, testing model output against 18 months of daily data in a small Scottish catchment. We examine key model processes and provide recommendations for model improvement and simplification. Improvements to the particulate phosphorus simulation are especially needed. The model evaluation procedure is then generalised to provide a checklist for identifying why model performance may be poor or unreliable, incorporating calibration, data, structural and conceptual challenges. There needs to be greater recognition that current models struggle to produce positive Nash–Sutcliffe statistics in agricultural catchments when evaluated against daily data. Phosphorus modelling is difficult, but models are not as useless as this might suggest. We found a combination of correlation coefficients, bias, a comparison of distributions and a visual assessment of time series a better means of identifying realistic simulations.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Walker Institute
Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Earth Systems Science
Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:39069
Uncontrolled Keywords:Phosphorus; Catchment modelling; INCA; Nash–Sutcliffe; Diffuse pollution; Daily data
Publisher:Elsevier

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