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Estimates of long-term water total phosphorus (TP) concentrations in three large shallow lakes in the Yangtze River basin, China

Wu, Pan, Qin, Boqiang, Yu, Ge
Environmental science and pollution research international 2016 v.23 no.5 pp. 4938-4948
alluvial plains, basins, climate, drought, eutrophication, lakes, models, phosphorus, sediment deposition, sediments, trophic relationships, watersheds, China, Europe, North America, Yangtze River
The shallow lakes in the eastern China developed on alluvial plains with high-nutrient sediments, and most overflow into the Yangtze River with short hydraulic residence times, whereas they become eutrophic over long time periods. Assuming strong responses to hydrogeological changes in the basin, we attempted to determine the dynamic eutrophication history of these lakes. Although evaluation models for internal total phosphorus (TP) loading are widely used for deep lakes in Europe and North America, the accuracy of these models for shallow lakes that have smaller water volumes controlled by the geometrical morphology and greater basin area of alluvial plains is unknown. To describe the magnitude of changes in velocity of trophic state for the studied shallow lakes, we first evaluated the P retention model in relation to the major forces driving lake morphology, basin climate, and external discharge and then used the model to estimate changes in TP in three large shallow lakes (Taihu, Chao, and Poyang) over 60 years (1950–2009 AD). The observed levels of TP were verified against the relative error of the three lakes (<6.43 %) and Nash-Sutcliffe coefficients (0.67–0.75). The results showed that the predicted TP concentrations largely increased with hydraulic residence time, especially in extreme drought years, with a generally rising trend in trophic status. The simulated trophic state index showed that lakes Taihu and Poyang became eutrophic in the 1990s, whereas Lake Chao became eutrophic in the 1980s; lakes Taihu and Chao ultimately became hypereutrophic in the 2000s. The analysis suggested that the tropic status of the shallow lakes was affected by both the hydroclimate and geological sedimentation of the Yangtze River basin. This work will contribute to the development of an internal P loading model for further evaluating trophic states.