Importance of different factors for modeling nitrate transport and retention in a tile-drained agricultural catchment with distance-based generalized sensitivity analysis

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Modeling of nitrate transport and retention in agricultural land use areas provides useful information to support water quality assessment and management. The accuracy and precision of model simulations are highly dependent on model input factors for which the appropriate values are generally difficult to determine and from which various uncertainties are induced into the modeling procedure. In this study, we applied a Distance-based Generalized Sensitivity Analysis (DGSA) to a high-resolution (25 × 25 m) nitrate transport and retention model for a tile-drained agricultural catchment (4.4 km2) to investigate the extent to which model input factors affect the spatially distributed nitrate retention. The input factors included the nitrate leaching from the root zone, the partitioning of nitrate into tile drainage and groundwater flux, the groundwater flux out of the catchment, the hydrogeological properties, and the denitrification rates in groundwater. The DGSA results were examined in both spatially lumped and distributed perspective. We found that the partitioning of nitrate into tile drainage and groundwater flux was the most important factor for modeling nitrate retention while the hydrogeological properties were secondary but also important. Conversely, the nitrate leaching from the root zone and denitrification rates in groundwater were noninfluential. By increasing the resolution of the DGSA analysis from catchment to model pixel, we found that input factors noninfluential on catchment scale were influential on pixel scale in discrete areas, and, as a general take-home-message, input factors influential on nitrate retention in at least 25 % of the model pixels were sensitive on catchment scale as well. Improved understanding of sensitivity of modelling nitrate retention may help the modelers and water managers to decide which input factors to prioritize in the modelling and data collection to improve the accuracy and precision of the model responses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number169614
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume912
ISSN0048-9697
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2024

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Importance of different factors for modeling nitrate transport and retention in a tile-drained agricultural catchment with distance-based generalized sensitivity analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this