Jul 28, 2017

Eutrophication will increase during the 21st century as a result of precipitation changes

E. Sinha, A. M. Michalak, V. Balaji
  • States that eutrophication, or excessive nutrient enrichment, threatens water resources across the globe
  • Shows that climate change–induced precipitation changes alone will substantially increase (19 ± 14%) riverine total nitrogen loading within the continental United States by the end of the century for the “business-as-usual” scenario
  • Finds that the impacts, driven by projected increases in both total and extreme precipitation, will be especially strong for the Northeast and the corn belt of the United States
  • Finds that offsetting this increase would require a 33 ± 24% reduction in nitrogen inputs, representing a massive management challenge
  • Finds that precipitation changes alone will lead to an 18 percen increase in nutrient loading within the Mississippi Atchafalaya River Basin as a whole
  • States that globally, changes in precipitation are especially likely to also exacerbate eutrophication in India, China, and Southeast Asia
  • Concludes that changes in precipitation patterns will have substantial impacts on nitrogen loading within the continental United States
  • Finds that these trends . . .
    • will compound changes due to anticipated intensification of land use
    • or they may negate the benefits of strategies aimed at load reductions, thereby exacerbating water quality impairments