Modelling nitrogen fluxes from the land surface to the coastal zone in European systems: the perspective of the INCA project
Wade, A.J., Neal, C.N., Whitehead, P. G. and Flynn, N. J. (2005) Modelling nitrogen fluxes from the land surface to the coastal zone in European systems: the perspective of the INCA project. Journal of Hydrology, 304 (1-4). pp. 413-429. ISSN 0022-1694
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2004.07.041
This paper describes the results and conclusions of the INCA (Integrated Nitrogen Model for European CAtchments) project and sets the findings in the context of the ELOISE (European Land-Ocean Interaction Studies) programme. The INCA project was concerned with the development of a generic model of the major factors and processes controlling nitrogen dynamics in European river systems, thereby providing a tool (a) to aid the scientific understanding of nitrogen transport and retention in catchments and (b) for river-basin management and policy-making. The findings of the study highlight the heterogeneity of the factors and processes controlling nitrogen dynamics in freshwater systems. Nonetheless, the INCA model was able to simulate the in-stream nitrogen concentrations and fluxes observed at annual and seasonal timescales in Arctic, Continental and Maritime-Temperate regimes. This result suggests that the data requirements and structural complexity of the INCA model are appropriate to simulate nitrogen fluxes across a wide range of European freshwater environments. This is a major requirement for the production of coupled fiver-estuary-coastal shelf models for the management of our aquatic environment. With regard to river-basin management, to achieve an efficient reduction in nutrient fluxes from the land to the estuarine and coastal zone, the model simulations suggest that management options must be adaptable to the prevailing environmental and socio-economic factors in individual catchments: 'Blanket approaches' to environmental policy appear too simple. (c) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.