How to Monitor Global River Water Environment: Scientists Explains

new development

Things such as heat emission, climate change, water management, and human activities, affect nitrogen transport and the hydrothermal condition in the river systems and soil. They also influence the water environment and the global nitrogen cycle. 

Recently, a team of researchers led by Prof. Xie Zhenghui from the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences combined the schemes of river water temperature, riverine dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) transport, and human activity into a land surface model. The researchers succeeded in developing a land surface model CAS-LSM. Here is what you need to know.

The Land Surface Model Features

The team’s development was tested, too. The researchers applied the model to find the impacts of anthropogenic disturbances and climate change on DIN transport and global river temperature. What they discovered is truly astonishing.

After testing the land surface model CAS-LSM, the team found that rivers’ water temperature in tropical areas rose from 1981 to 2010. Also, the heat emission of the once-cooling system of thermal power plants further increased the temperature. 

In Asia, for instance, power plants enhanced the local river temperatures by approximately 60 %. 

Prof. Zhenghui released a statement, saying: “Quantitative assessment can only improve our understanding of the material and energy cycle that occur in response to anthropogenic disturbances, but also contribute to protecting river ecosystems.”

Climate Change So Far

Climate change influenced the interannual variability of DIN exports from land to oceans. Water management is known for its way of controlling DIN’s retention by influencing the river thermal processes and the water cycle. 

For example, in the US, the riverine DIN was influenced mainly by nitrogen fertilizer use, while the changes in DIN fluxes in European waters were triggered by point source pollution. 

On the other hand, in China, the rivers were extremely affected by both point source emission and fertilization. 

The team’s results showed that incorporating schemes related to human activities and nitrogen transport into land surface models is actually a great way to observe the global river water quality.


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