How does the change in agricultural practices and in climate influence the nitrate load of a small Mediterranean catchment?
PhD Researcher: Carolin Paneru, née Thesenvitz
Supervisors: Olaf Cirpka (University of Tübingen), Claus Haslauer (University of Tübingen), David L. Rudolph (University of Waterloo)
Irrigated agriculture enables higher efficiency: harvests are more secure and productive. But it increases nitrate loads in the related water bodies. Today, nitrate is the top chemical contaminant in groundwater worldwide (Exner, Hirsh & Spalding 2014). It is a threat for human health and the environment. Forecasting the terrestrial and aquatic pathways of nitrates is imperative for appropriate water management. Physically-based hydrological modelling achieves best results at catchment scale (Goderniaux et al. 2011). Integrating the relevant processes of the nitrogen life cycle is the next step. Input, turnover, and transport occur at the surface, the root and vadose zone. The characteristics of the aquifer attenuate and retard the transport processes. An approach comprising all relevant zones is necessary. A resulting model may investigate real water management problems.
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