Journal of Hydrology, Volume 603

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Elsevier BV
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Advances in the simulation of nutrient dynamics in cold climate agricultural basins: Developing new nitrogen and phosphorus modules for the Cold Regions Hydrological Modelling Platform
Diogo Costa | John W. Pomeroy | Thomas A. Brown | Helen M. Baulch | J. M. Elliott | Merrin L. Macrae

• Application of popular catchment nutrient models is problematic in cold regions. • New nutrient modules have been developed for the Cold Regions Hydrological Model. • The model was applied to a sub-basin of the increasingly eutrophic Lake Winnipeg, Canada. • Simulated SWE, discharge, NO3, NH4, SRP and partP were compared against observations. • Typical ∼9 day-freshet accounted for 16–31% of the total annual nutrient load. Excess nutrients in aquatic ecosystems is a major water quality problem globally. Worsening eutrophication issues are notable in cold temperate areas, with pervasive problems in many agriculturally dominated catchments. Predicting nutrient export to rivers and lakes is particularly difficult in cold agricultural environments because of challenges in modelling snow, soil, frozen ground, climate, and anthropogenic controls. Previous research has shown that the use of many popular small basin nutrient models can be problematic in cold regions due to poor representation of cold region hydrology. In this study, the Cold Regions Hydrological Modelling Platform (CRHM), a modular modelling system, which has been widely deployed across Canada and cold regions worldwide, was used to address this problem. CRHM was extended to simulate biogeochemical and transport processes for nitrogen and phosphorus through a complex of new process-based modules that represent physicochemical processes in snow, soil and freshwater. Agricultural practices such as tillage and fertilizer application, which strongly impact the availability and release of soil nutrients, can be explicitly represented in the model. A test case in an agricultural basin draining towards Lake Winnipeg shows that the model can capture the extreme hydrology and nutrient load variability of small agricultural basins at hourly time steps. It was demonstrated that fine temporal resolutions are an essential modelling requisite to capture strong concentration changes in agricultural tributaries in cold agricultural environments. Within these ephemeral and intermittent streams, on average, 30%, 31%, 20%, and 16% of the total annual load of nitrate (NO 3 ), ammonium (NH 4 ), soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP), and particulate phosphorous (partP)NO 3 , NH 4 , SRP and partP occurred during the episodic snowmelt freshet ( ∼ 9 days, accounting for 21% of the annual flow), but shows extreme temporal variation. The new nutrient modules are critical tools for predicting nutrient export from small agricultural drainage basins in cold climates via better representation of key hydrological processes, and a temporal resolution more suited to capture dynamics of ephemeral and intermittent streams.

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A streamflow-oriented ranking-based methodological framework to combine multiple precipitation datasets across large river basins
Jefferson S. Wong | Fuad Yassin | J. S. Famiglietti | John W. Pomeroy

• A methodological framework to combine multiple precipitation products is proposed. • Hybrid datasets based on hydrological evaluation improve hydrological modelling. • Considering seasonal characteristics of the river basin enhance model performance. Hydrologic-Land Surface Models (H-LSMs) are subject to input uncertainties arising from climate forcing data, especially precipitation. For better streamflow simulations and predictions, the generation of a hybrid dataset by combining existing precipitation products has attracted considerable interest in recent years. To assess the accuracy of the hybrid dataset, in-situ precipitation-gauge stations are used as a reference point. However, the robustness of the hybrid dataset in representing spatial details can be problematic when the evaluation uses only a sparse network of in-situ observations at regional or basin scales. This study aims to develop a methodological framework to generate hybrid precipitation datasets based on the model performance of streamflow simulations that are spatially representative across large river basins. The framework is illustrated using a Canadian H-LSM known as MESH (Modélisation Environmentale communautaire – Surface Hydrology) in the Saskatchewan River basin, Canada, for the period 2002–2010. Five regional and global precipitation products (Global Meteorological Forcing Dataset at Princeton University (Princeton); the WATCH Forcing Data methodology applied to the ERA-Interim (WFDEI) augmented by Climatic Research Unit (WFDEI [CRU]) and Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (WFDEI [GPCC]); North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR); and Canadian Precipitation Analysis (CaPA)) were included as candidates in this study. Results indicate that the generation of a hybrid dataset based on hydrological evaluation was useful for improving H-LSM modelling skills. Hybrid datasets showed a similar or better model performance compared to that of the best basin-wide precipitation product in the headwaters and gradually performed better downstream and at the basin outlet. When multiple products are combined model performance can be further enhanced by considering seasonality with respect to the hydrological regime of the river basin. This study demonstrates the usefulness of hybrid datasets in a large-scale river basin with low climate station network density.