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Effects of warmer world scenarios on hydrologic inputs to Lake Mälaren, Sweden and implications for nutrient loads

Moore, Karen, Pierson, Donald, Pettersson, Kurt, Schneiderman, Elliot, Samuelsson, Patrick
Hydrobiologia 2008 v.599 no.1 pp. 191-199
climate, climate change, climate models, hydrology, lakes, nutrients, pollution load, rivers, snowmelt, watersheds, Sweden
A simple, rapid, and flexible modelling approach was applied to explore the impacts of climate change on hydrologic inputs and consequent implications for nutrient loading to Lake Mälaren, Sweden using a loading function model (GWLF). The first step in the process was to adapt the model for use in a large and complex Swedish catchment. We focused on the Galten basin with four rivers draining into the western region of Mälaren. The catchment model was calibrated and tested using long-term historical data for river discharge and dissolved nutrients (N, P). Then multiple regional climate model simulation results were downscaled to the local catchment level, and used to simulate possible hydrological and nutrient loading responses to warmer world scenarios. Climate change projections for the rivers of Galten basin show profound changes in the timing of discharge and nutrient delivery due to increased winter precipitation and earlier snow melt. Impacts on total annual discharge and load are minimal, but the alteration in river flow regime and the timing of nutrient delivery for future climate scenarios is strikingly different from historical conditions.