Taking Sweden and the whole Baltic Sea region as examples, the study shows also that the reported Swedish loads of nitrogen and phosphorous to the Baltic Sea are significantly smaller than expected from strong correlations between a country’s nutrient loads and its population, area and economic activity (GDP per capita) within the Baltic Sea drainage basin (BSDB), which are found for all other Baltic Sea countries. Erroneous calculation of the nutrient loads from the relatively large Swedish unmonitored near-coastal areas can explain this significant difference between the reported and the expected nutrient loads from Sweden to the Baltic Sea.
The near-coastal areas that are left without systematic environmental monitoring may be small, but they extend along most of the coastlines and often have a large population proportion. For the whole BSDB, for instance, these areas cover 13% of the total area and 24% of the total population of the BSDB, according to an earlier study(2) by the same research group. For Sweden, the corresponding fractions are even larger: 55% of the Swedish population in the 20% unmonitored near-coastal catchment area of Sweden(2). The new study(1) shows that, with such a large population proportion, the concentrations of, for instance, nitrogen, phosphorous and organic pollutants in the water flow that are generated within these small near-coastal catchment areas may be much larger that in the systematically monitored main rivers. The mass load to the sea from a catchment area is the product of the area’s water flow to the sea and the mass concentration in that water flow. The latter may be large in near-coastal catchment areas, both due to a large population and due to increasing seawater intrusion into the near-coastal groundwater, which changes chemical conditions and may re-mobilise pollutants that were previously adsorbed on the solid particles of the groundwater system.
The unmonitored near-coastal catchment areas are not just forgotten when, for instance, the Swedish nutrient loads to the Baltic Sea are estimated. The data gaps are bridged with the help of computer model calculations. However, because the model results cannot be checked against representative field data for the unmonitored areas, they may be significantly wrong. A series of earlier and parallel, detailed process studies from the SU research group have shown: 1) that near-coastal catchment areas have particularly complex water flow conditions, which are not only possibly, but even probably erroneously estimated where some necessary data is missing(3-4); and 2) that the subsurface water systems (soil, groundwater, sediments) of catchment areas contain large legacies and long-term memories of the cumulative anthropogenic inputs of nutrients and pollutants in the catchments over at least the last decades(5-7), which can now be continuously transported to the sea, without detection, along the long coastlines of unmonitored near-coastal catchment areas. The new study(1) synthesizes main implications of these earlier and parallel studies and suggests a concrete, improved methodology for interpreting available field data and estimating the mass loading to the sea from unmonitored near-coastal catchment areas.
7 Destouni G., The subsurface water system role for surface and coastal water pollution, Ecohydrology & Hydrobiology, 7(2), 157-164, 2007.
Maria Sandqvist | alfa
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...
A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.05.2018 | Information Technology
18.05.2018 | Information Technology