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Coupling loss characteristics of runoff-sediment-adsorbed and dissolved nitrogen and phosphorus on bare loess slope

Wu, Lei, Qiao, Shanshan, Peng, Mengling, Ma, Xiaoyi
Environmental science and pollution research international 2018 v.25 no.14 pp. 14018-14031
ammonium nitrogen, control methods, hills, loess, loess soils, nitrate nitrogen, nitrogen, nonpoint source pollution, phosphorus, rain intensity, rainfall duration, rainfall simulation, runoff, sediment yield, topographic slope
Soil and nutrient loss is a common natural phenomenon but it exhibits unclear understanding especially on bare loess soil with variable rainfall intensity and slope gradient, which makes it difficult to design control measures for agricultural diffuse pollution. We employ 30 artificial simulated rainfalls (six rainfall intensities and five slope gradients) to quantify the coupling loss correlation of runoff-sediment-adsorbed and dissolved nitrogen and phosphorus on bare loess slope. Here, we show that effects of rainfall intensity on runoff yield was stronger than slope gradient with prolongation of rainfall duration, and the effect of slope gradient on runoff yield reduced gradually with increased rainfall intensity. But the magnitude of initial sediment yield increased significantly from an average value of 6.98 g at 5° to 36.08 g at 25° with increased slope gradient. The main factor of sediment yield would be changed alternately with the dual increase of slope gradient and rainfall intensity. Dissolved total nitrogen (TN) and dissolved total phosphorus (TP) concentrations both showed significant fluctuations with rainfall intensity and slope gradient, and dissolved TP concentration was far less than dissolved TN. Under the double influences of rainfall intensity and slope gradient, adsorbed TN concentration accounted for 7–82% of TN loss concentration with an average of 58.6% which was the main loss form of soil nitrogen, adsorbed TP concentration accounted for 91.8–98.7% of TP loss concentration with an average of 96.6% which was also the predominant loss pathway of soil phosphorus. Nitrate nitrogen (NO₃⁻-N) accounted for 14.59–73.92% of dissolved TN loss, and ammonia nitrogen (NH₄⁺-N) accounted for 1.48–18.03%. NO₃⁻-N was the main loss pattern of TN in runoff. Correlation between dissolved TN, runoff yield, and rainfall intensity was obvious, and a significant correlation was also found between adsorbed TP, sediment yield, and slope gradient. Our results provide the underlying insights needed to guide the control of nitrogen and phosphorus loss on loess hills.