This Is AuburnAUrora

Increased nitrogen export from eastern North America to the Atlantic Ocean due to climatic and anthropogenic changes during 1901-2008


Yang, Qichun
Tian, Hanqin
Friedrichs, Marjorie
Hopkinson, Charles
Lu, Chaoqun
Najjar, Raymond


We used a process-based land model, Dynamic Land Ecosystem Model 2.0, to examine how climatic and anthropogenic changes affected riverine fluxes of ammonium (NH4+), nitrate (NO3-), dissolved organic nitrogen (DON), and particulate organic nitrogen (PON) from eastern North America, especially the drainage areas of the Gulf of Maine (GOM), Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB), and South Atlantic Bight (SAB) during 1901-2008. Model simulations indicated that annual fluxes of NH4+, NO3-, DON, and PON from the study area during 1980-2008 were 0.0190.003 (mean1 standard deviation) TgNyr(-1), 0.180.035TgNyr(-1), 0.100.016TgNyr(-1), and 0.043 +/- 0.008TgNyr(-1), respectively. NH4+, NO3-, and DON exports increased while PON export decreased from 1901 to 2008. Nitrogen export demonstrated substantial spatial variability across the study area. Increased NH4+ export mainly occurred around major cities in the MAB. NO3- export increased in most parts of the MAB but decreased in parts of the GOM. Enhanced DON export was mainly distributed in the GOM and the SAB. PON export increased in coastal areas of the SAB and northern parts of the GOM but decreased in the Piedmont areas and the eastern parts of the MAB. Climate was the primary reason for interannual variability in nitrogen export; fertilizer use and nitrogen deposition tended to enhance the export of all nitrogen species; livestock farming and sewage discharge were also responsible for the increases in NH4+ and NO3- fluxes; and land cover change (especially reforestation of former agricultural land) reduced the export of the four nitrogen species.