Nutrient pollution is one of the leading causes of poor water quality and impairment of water bodies in the United States. In light of sprawling urbanization and climate change predictions that hydrologic extremes will increase in frequency and intensity, a better understanding of how watersheds will respond to these changes is critical. This study examines how nitrogen concentration and export from different land uses vary over a range of discharges and hydroclimate conditions. The results suggest that catchments which are transport limited yet have a constant supply of nitrate such as agricultural and suburban catchments on septic are the most susceptible to hydrologic extremes and have the potential to accumulate nitrate during droughts and subsequently release it in large pulses during wetting periods. Despite overall high export, our more urbanized catchments which are neither transport nor source limited exhibit a more muted response to alternating dry and wet spells.
|Advisor:||Band, Lawrence E.|
|Commitee:||McMahon, Gerard, Moody, Aaron|
|School:||The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill|
|School Location:||United States -- North Carolina|
|Source:||MAI 49/02M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Physical geography, Hydrologic sciences, Land Use Planning, Water Resource Management, Environmental science|
|Keywords:||Ecosystem processes, Hydroclimate variability, Land use, Nitrogen, Nutrient pollution, Urban infrastructure|
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