Increased atmospheric deposition of inorganic nitrogen (N) may lead to increased leaching of nitrate (NO3−) to surface waters. The mechanisms responsible for, and controls on, this leaching are matters of debate. An experimental N addition has been conducted at Gårdsjön, Sweden to determine the magnitude and identify the mechanisms of N leaching from forested catchments within the EU funded project NITREX. The ability of INCA-N, a simple process-based model of catchment N dynamics, to simulate catchment-scale inorganic N dynamics in soil and stream water during the course of the experimental addition is evaluated. Simulations were performed for 1990–2002. Experimental N addition began in 1991. INCA-N was able to successfully reproduce stream and soil water dynamics before and during the experiment. While INCA-N did not correctly simulate the lag between the start of N addition and NO3− breakthrough, the model was able to simulate the state change resulting from increased N deposition. Sensitivity analysis showed that model behaviour was controlled primarily by parameters related to hydrology and vegetation dynamics and secondarily by in-soil processes.
- experimental nitrogen addition
- nitrogen leaching
- Received September 16, 2008.
- Accepted February 2, 2009.
- © IWA Publishing 2009