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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Conceptual Mini-Catchment Typologies for Testing Dominant Controls of Nutrient Dynamics in Three Nordic Countries

Hashemi, Fatemeh; Pohle, Ina; Pullens, Johannes W. M.; Tornbjerg, Henrik; Kyllmar, Katarina; Marttila, Hannu; Lepisto, Ahti; Klove, Bjorn; Futter, Martyn; Kronvang, Brian


Optimal nutrient pollution monitoring and management in catchments requires an in-depth understanding of spatial and temporal factors controlling nutrient dynamics. Such an understanding can potentially be obtained by analysing stream concentration-discharge (C-Q) relationships for hysteresis behaviours and export regimes. Here, a classification scheme including nine different C-Q types was applied to a total of 87 Nordic streams draining mini-catchments (0.1-65 km(2)). The classification applied is based on a combination of stream export behaviour (dilution, constant, enrichment) and hysteresis rotational pattern (clock-wise, no rotation, anti-clockwise). The scheme has been applied to an 8-year data series (2010-2017) from small streams in Denmark, Sweden, and Finland on daily discharge and discrete nutrient concentrations, including nitrate (NO3-), total organic N (TON), dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP), and particulate phosphorus (PP). The dominant nutrient export regimes were enrichment for NO(3)(-)and constant for TON, DRP, and PP. Nutrient hysteresis patterns were primarily clockwise or no hysteresis. Similarities in types of C-Q relationships were investigated using Principal Component Analysis (PCA) considering effects of catchment size, land use, climate, and dominant soil type. The PCA analysis revealed that land use and air temperature were the dominant factors controlling nutrient C-Q types. Therefore, the nutrient export behaviour in streams draining Nordic mini-catchments seems to be dominantly controlled by their land use characteristics and, to a lesser extent, their climate.


water quality; concentration-discharge relationship; export behaviour; hysteresis; PCA

Published in

2020, volume: 12, number: 6, article number: 1776
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Hashemi, Fatemeh
Aarhus Univ
Pohle, Ina
James Hutton Inst
Pullens, Johannes W. M.
Aarhus Univ
Tornbjerg, Henrik
Aarhus Univ
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil and Environment
Marttila, Hannu
Olulu Univ
Lepisto, Ahti
Finnish Environm Inst
Klove, Bjorn
Olulu Univ
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Kronvang, Brian
Aarhus Univ

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG6 Clean water

UKÄ Subject classification

Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources

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