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Research article2018Peer reviewedOpen access

Long-term changes (1990-2015) in the atmospheric deposition and runoff water chemistry of sulphate, inorganic nitrogen and acidity for forested catchments in Europe in relation to changes in emissions and hydrometeorological conditions

Vuorenmaa, Jussi; Augustaitis, Algirdas; Beudert, Burkhard; Bochenek, Witold; Clarke, Nicholas; de Wit, Heleen A.; Dirnboeck, Thomas; Frey, Jane; Hakola, Hannele; Kleemola, Sirpa; Kobler, Johannes; Kram, Pavel; Lindroos, Antti-Jussi; Lundin, Lars; Lofgren, Stefan; Marchettom, Aldo; Pecka, Tomasz; Schulte-Bisping, Hubert; Skotak, Krzysztof; Srybny, Anatoly;
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The international Long-Term Ecological Research Network (ILTER) encompasses hundreds of long-term research/monitoring sites located in a wide array of ecosystems that can help us understand environmental change across the globe. We evaluated long-term trends (1990-2015) for bulk deposition, throughfall and runoff water chemistry and fluxes, and climatic variables 10 25 forested catchments in Europe belonging to the UNECE International Cooperative Programme on Integrated Monitoring of Air Pollution Effects on Ecosystems (ICP IM). Many of the IM sites form part of the monitoring infrastructures of this larger ILTER network. Trends were evaluated for monthly concentrations of non-marine (anthropogenic fraction, denoted as x) sulphate (xSO(4)) and base cations x(Ca + Mg), hydrogen ion (H+), inorganic N (NO3 and NH4) and ANC (Acid Neutralising Capacity) and their respective fluxes into and out of the catchments and for monthly precipitation, runoff and air temperature. A significant decrease of xSO(4) deposition resulted in decreases in concentrations and fluxes of xSO(4) in runoff, being significant at 90% and 60% of the sites, respectively. Bulk deposition of NO3 and NH4 decreased significantly at 60-80% (concentrations) and 40-60% (fluxes) of the sites. Concentrations and fluxes of NO3 in runoff decreased at 73% and 63% of the sites, respectively, and NO3 concentrations decreased significantly at 50% of the sites. Thus, the LTER/ICP IM network confirms the positive effects of the emission reductions in Europe. Air temperature increased significantly at 61% of the sites, while trends for precipitation and runoff were rarely significant. The site specific variation of xSO(4) concentrations in runoff was most strongly explained by deposition. Climatic variables and deposition explained the variation of inorganic N concentrations in runoff at single sites poorly, and as yet there are no clear signs of a consistent deposition-driven or climate-driven increase in inorganic N exports in the catchments. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Sulphur; Nitrogen; Climate; Trends; Monitoring; LTER

Published in

Science of the Total Environment
2018, Volume: 625, pages: 1129-1145