Nutrient losses from agricultural fields are the largest sources of phosphorus (P) entering the Great Lakes in North America. Stacked conservation practices (CPs) may reduce P losses from individual fields. Simple low-cost, low disturbance, commercially available filters containing wood chips and phosphorus sorbing materials (PSM) were installed on two fields already using conservation practices in midwestern Ontario (ILD and LON) to quantify their ability to remove soluble reactive P (SRP), particulate P (PP), total P (TP) and total suspended sediments (TSS) from surface runoff. Laboratory tests on unused (new) and used (field) filter materials were also conducted to estimate P sorption and remobilization potentials. During the two-year study period, the filter retained 0.018 kg ha-1 of SRP, 0.38 kg ha-1 of PP, 0.4 kg ha-1 of TP and 8.75 kg ha-1 of TSS from surface runoff at the ILD site. In contrast, although the filter at LON removed 37 kg ha-1 of TSS and 0.07 kg ha-1 of PP, it released 0.22 kg ha-1 of SRP and 0.15 kg ha-1 TP. A reduction in filter efficacy was observed over time, particularly at the site with greater cumulative surface runoff and larger runoff events (LON). The majority of the SRP retained by the filter was held in a loosely bound form, thus, susceptible to P remobilization. The results of this study demonstrate that low-cost, simple PSMs have some potential to retain P from surface runoff, but their efficacy may decline over time and their P retention capability may differ with site hydrology (e.g., runoff volumes and velocity) and P supply.
Abstract. Systematic tile drainage is used extensively in agricultural lands to remove excess water and improve crop growth; however, tiles can also transfer nutrients from farmlands to downstream surface water bodies, leading to water quality problems. There is a need to simulate the hydrological behaviour of tile drains to understand the impacts of climate or land management change on agricultural runoff. The Cold Regions Hydrological Model (CRHM) is a physically based, modular modelling system that enables the creation of comprehensive models appropriate for cold regions by including a full suite of winter, spring, and summer season processes and coupling these together via mass and energy balances. A new tile drainage module was developed for CRHM to account for this process in tile-drained landscapes that are increasingly common in cultivated basins of the Great Lakes and northern Prairies regions of North America. A robust multi-variable, multi-criteria model performance evaluation strategy was deployed to examine the ability of the module with CRHM to capture tile discharge under both winter and summer conditions. Results showed that soil moisture is largely regulated by tile flow and lateral flow from adjacent fields. The explicit representation of capillary rise for moisture interactions between the rooting zone and groundwater greatly improved model simulations, demonstrating its significance in the hydrology of tile drains in loam soils. Water level patterns revealed a bimodal behaviour that depended on the positioning of the capillary fringe relative to the tile. A novel aspect of this module is the use of field capacity and its corresponding pressure head to provide an estimate of drainable water and thickness of the capillary fringe, rather than a detailed soil retention curve that may not always be available. Understanding the bimodal nature of soil water levels provides better insight into the significance of dynamic water exchange between soil layers below drains to improve tile drainage representation in models.
The cold regions hydrological modelling platform for hydrological diagnosis and prediction based on process understanding
John W. Pomeroy,
Thomas A. Brown,
Christopher B. Marsh,
Sebastian A. Krogh,
Holly J. Annand,
Journal of Hydrology, Volume 615
• Snow, glaciers, wetlands, frozen ground and permafrost needed in hydrological models. • Water quality export by coupling biochemical transformations to cold regions processes. • Hydrological sensitivity to land use depends on cold regions processes. • Strong cold regions hydrological sensitivity to climate warming. Cold regions involve hydrological processes that are not often addressed appropriately in hydrological models. The Cold Regions Hydrological Modelling platform (CRHM) was initially developed in 1998 to assemble and explore the hydrological understanding developed from a series of research basins spanning Canada and international cold regions. Hydrological processes and basin response in cold regions are simulated in a flexible, modular, object-oriented, multiphysics platform. The CRHM platform allows for multiple representations of forcing data interpolation and extrapolation, hydrological model spatial and physical process structures, and parameter values. It is well suited for model falsification, algorithm intercomparison and benchmarking, and has been deployed for basin hydrology diagnosis, prediction, land use change and water quality analysis, climate impact analysis and flood forecasting around the world. This paper describes CRHM’s capabilities, and the insights derived by applying the model in concert with process hydrology research and using the combined information and understanding from research basins to predict hydrological variables, diagnose hydrological change and determine the appropriateness of model structure and parameterisations.
Globally, maize ( Zea mays , a C4-plant) and alfalfa ( Medicago sativa , a C3-plant) are common and economically important crops. Predicting the response of their water use efficiency, WUE , to changing hydrologic and climatic conditions is vital in helping farmers adapt to a changing climate. In this study, we assessed the effective leaf area index ( eLAI - the leaf area most involved in CO 2 and H 2 O exchange) and stomatal conductance in canopy scale in maize and alfalfa fields. In the process we used a theoretically-based photosynthesis C3-C4 model (C3C4PM) and carbon and water vapour fluxes measured by Eddy Covariance towers at our study sites. We found that in our study sites the eLAI was in the range of 25–32% of the observed total LAI in these crops. WUE s were in range of 8–9 mmol/mol. C3C4PM can be used in predictions of stomatal conductance and eLAI responses in C3 and C4 agricultural crops to elevated CO 2 concentration and changes in precipitation and temperature under future climate scenarios. • ~25 (maize) & 32% (alfalfa) of the observed crop LAI was involved in photosynthesis. • Extinction coefficient for beam radiation was 1.08 (maize) and 0.84 (alfalfa). • Canopy stomatal conductance, SC , was ~0.13 (maize) and ~0.15 (alfalfa). • Effective LAI and canopy SC can be evaluated by Eddy Covariance records.
Water use efficiency (WUE) can be calculated using a range of methods differing in carbon uptake and water use variable selection. Consequently, inconsistencies arise between WUE calculations due to complex physical and physiological interactions. The purpose of this study was to quantify and compare WUE estimates (harvest or flux-based) for alfalfa (C3 plant) and maize (C4 plant) and determine effects of input variables, plant physiology and farming practices on estimates. Four WUE calculations were investigated: two “harvest-based” methods, using above ground carbon content and either precipitation or evapotranspiration (ET), and two “flux-based” methods, using gross primary productivity (GPP) and either ET or transpiration. WUE estimates differed based on method used at both half-hourly and seasonal scales. Input variables used in calculations affected WUE estimates, and plant physiology led to different responses in carbon assimilation and water use variables. WUE estimates were also impacted by different plant physiological responses and processing methods, even when the same carbon assimilation and water use variables were considered. This study highlights a need to develop a metric of measuring cropland carbon-water coupling that accounts for all water use components, plant carbon responses, and biomass production.
Agricultural P losses are a global economic and water quality concern. Much of the current understanding of P dynamics in agricultural systems has been obtained from rainfall-driven runoff, and less is known about cold-season processes. An improved understanding of the magnitude, form, and transport flow paths of P losses from agricultural croplands year round, and the climatic drivers of these processes, is needed to prioritize and evaluate appropriate best management practices (BMPs) to protect soil-water quality in cold regions. This study examines multiyear, year-round, high-frequency edge-of-field P losses (soluble reactive P and total P [TP]) in overland flow and tile drainage from three croplands in southern Ontario, Canada. Annual and seasonal budgets for water, P, and estimates of field P budgets (including fertilizer inputs, crop uptake, and runoff) were calculated for each site. Annual edge-of-field TP loads ranged from 0.18 to 1.93 kg ha yr (mean = 0.59 kg ha yr) across the region, including years with fertilizer application. Tile drainage dominated runoff across sites, whereas the contribution of tiles and overland flow to P loss differed regionally, likely related to site-specific topography, soil type, and microclimate. The nongrowing season was the dominant period for runoff and P loss across sites, where TP loss during this period was often associated with overland flow during snowmelt. These results indicate that emphasis should be placed on BMPs that are effective during both the growing and nongrowing season in cold regions, but that the suitability of various BMPs may vary for different sites.
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Kompanizare M, Petrone RM, Shafii M, Robinson DT, Rooney RC. Effect of climate change and mining on hydrological connectivity of surficial layers in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region. Hydrological Processes. 2018;32:3698–3716. https://doi.org/10.1002/hyp.13292, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1002/hyp.13292. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.