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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Potential impact of climate change on nutrient loads in lithuanian rivers

Povilaitis, Arvydas; Widen-Nilsson, Elin; Sarauskiene, Diana; Kriauciuniene, Jurate; Jakimavicius, Darius; Bukantis, Arunas; Kazys, Justas; Lozys, Linas; Kesminas, Vytautas; Virbickas, Tomas; Pliuraite, Virginija


The potential effects of climate change on nutrient (total N and total P) loads in four large-scale (A=2940-6771 km(2)) river basins in Lithuania were analyzed. The climate impact assessment was based on an ensemble of four (RCP2.6, RCP4.5, RCP6.0 and RCP8.5) future climate projections, representing the averaged outputs from three (GFDL-CM3, NorESM1-M and HadGEM2-ES) global climate models. For each climate projection, near-future (2016-2035) and distant-future (2081-2100) time periods were compared to the baseline period (1986-2005) to distinguish future changes.The results have shown a decreasing trend in the annual nutrient loads in most of the studied rivers under the projected climate change. Seasonal changes in nutrient loads are also predicted with an increase occurring during the winter months and a fairly high decrease occurring in the spring and early summer months. These changes are consistent with the projected changes in the seasonal stream flow.


climate change; Lithuania; runoff; riverine nutrient loads

Published in

Environmental Engineering and Management Journal
2018, volume: 17, number: 9, pages: 2229-2240

Authors' information

Povilaitis, Arvydas
Aleksandras Stulginskis University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Sarauskiene, Diana
Lithuanian Energy Institute
Kriauciuniene, Jurate
Lithuanian Energy Institute
Jakimavicius, Darius
Lithuanian Energy Institute
Bukantis, Arunas
Vilnius University
Kazys, Justas
Vilnius University
Lozys, Linas
Nature Research Center - Lithuania
Kesminas, Vytautas
Nature Research Center - Lithuania
Virbickas, Tomas
Nature Research Center - Lithuania
Pliuraite, Virginija
Nature Research Center - Lithuania

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG6 Clean water and sanitation
SDG13 Climate action

UKÄ Subject classification

Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources

URI (permanent link to this page)