Integrated Nitrogen Model for European Catchments


From 04/2000 to 03/2003

Principal Investigator: Egbert Matzner
Staff: Jens Langusch, Birgit Maier
Grant: INCA Integrated Nitrogen Model for European Catchments

Presently there are concerns about N in upland and lowland fresh water systems, estuaries and marine areas throughout Europe. A processed based model of plant/soil system and instream nitrogen dynamics, INCA has been developed and tested in 4 UK catchments. The model has been designed to assess multiple sources of N in catchments: N deposition, agricultural and sewage inputs. Based on mass balance and reaction kinetics, INCA simulates the principle mechanisms operating, including mineralisation, immobilisation, nitrification and denitrification. An application of INCA is required to assess the impacts of catchment N inputs on water quality at the pan European spatial scale. Replication of a model application across key ecosystem types throughout Europe will provide an assessment of the sources and sinks of N and estimates of the likely impacts of N deposition, land use and climate change scenarios on the fluxes of N, both within the plant/soil system and the river network. The results will be achieved by the creation of extensive databases describing the hydrology and N dynamics of the study areas and the creation of a generic version of INCA. Application of INCA to different ecosystems will provide some internal testing of the model. Furthermore the model will be used to assess the costs and benefits of N controls in Europe using simple economic models. INCA addresses the problem of providing high quality water in Europe through an improved understanding of river system functioning and the development of a pragmatic scientific and management tool.

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