Calcium-bicarbonate equilibrium in freshwaters
During recent decades, increasing anthropogenic activities have affected natural ionic composition in most natural global freshwaters.
Using long-term monitoring data and MAGIC modelling, we evaluated effects of major present environmental stressors (synthetic fertilizers, liming, acidic deposition, forest disturbances, and climate change) on the acid neutralizing capacity equilibrium.
Three different types of terrestrial ecosystems, a circumneutral lowland agricultural catchment, two acid sensitive mountain forest catchments differing in forest health, and one acid sensitive alpine catchment were selected from a region with the world-largest changes in fertilizing rates and acidic deposition in the 20th century, with increasing impacts until the late 1980s, and their subsequent abrupt, dramatic decreases. These strong changes resulted in a substantial disruption, followed by continuing re-establishment of the acid neutralizing capacity relationship in all study waters.
The shape of the disruption and the following re-establishment of its new value were dependent on the intensity, duration, and combination of stressors, as well as on catchment characteristics (bedrock composition, soil amount and composition, vegetation status, and hydrology).
We conclude that a new equilibrium may deviate from its natural value due to the (1) legacy of fertilizing, acidic deposition and liming, affecting the soil Ca2+ pools, (2) forest disturbances and management practices, and (3) climate change.
Kopáček, J., Hejzlar, J., Oulehle, F., Porcal, P., Weyhenmeyer, G.A., Norton, S.A. 2020. Disruptions and re-establishment of the calcium-bicarbonate equilibrium in freshwaters. Science of the Total Environment 743, DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.140626.