Water quality in the Scottish Uplands

A hydrological perspective on catchment hydrochemistry

C Soulsby, C Gibbins, A. J. Wade, R. Smart, R. Helliwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Land above 300 m covers approximately 75% of the surface of Scotland and most of the nation's major river systems have their headwaters in this upland environment. The hydrological characteristics of the uplands exert an important influence on the hydrochemistry of both headwater streams and downstream river systems. Thus, many of the spatial and temporal patterns in the chemical quality of surface waters are mediated by hydrological processes that route precipitation through upland catchments. These hydrological pathways also have an important influence on how the hydrochemistry of upland streams is responding to increasing pressures from environmental changes at the global and regional scales. At the present time, atmospheric deposition remains an issue in many parts of the Scottish uplands, where critical loads of acidity are exceeded, particularly in areas affected by increasing N deposition. Moreover, climatic change forecasts predict increasingly wetter, warmer and more seasonal conditions, which may modify the hydrochemical regimes of many river systems, particularly those with a strong snowmelt component. On a more localised scale, land management practices, including felling of commercial forests, expansion of native woodlands, agricultural decline and moorland management all have implications for the freshwater environment. Moreover, increasing public access to upland areas for a range of recreational activities have implications for water quality. Understanding the hydrology of the uplands, through integrated field and modelling studies, particularly of the hydrological pathways that regulate chemical transfers to streamwaters, will remain an important research frontier for the foreseeable future. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-94
Number of pages21
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume294
Issue number1-3
Early online date12 Mar 2002
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2002

Keywords

  • hydrology
  • water quality
  • hydrochemistry
  • uplands
  • Scotland
  • land-use
  • Cairngorm Mountains
  • Northeast Scotland
  • surface waters
  • current issues
  • Dee catchment
  • river water
  • NE Scotland
  • streams
  • acidification

Cite this

Water quality in the Scottish Uplands : A hydrological perspective on catchment hydrochemistry. / Soulsby, C; Gibbins, C; Wade, A. J.; Smart, R.; Helliwell, R.

In: Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 294, No. 1-3, 22.07.2002, p. 73-94.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Soulsby, C ; Gibbins, C ; Wade, A. J. ; Smart, R. ; Helliwell, R. / Water quality in the Scottish Uplands : A hydrological perspective on catchment hydrochemistry. In: Science of the Total Environment. 2002 ; Vol. 294, No. 1-3. pp. 73-94.
@article{50c2c003759c48eb978a558f9c465841,
title = "Water quality in the Scottish Uplands: A hydrological perspective on catchment hydrochemistry",
abstract = "Land above 300 m covers approximately 75{\%} of the surface of Scotland and most of the nation's major river systems have their headwaters in this upland environment. The hydrological characteristics of the uplands exert an important influence on the hydrochemistry of both headwater streams and downstream river systems. Thus, many of the spatial and temporal patterns in the chemical quality of surface waters are mediated by hydrological processes that route precipitation through upland catchments. These hydrological pathways also have an important influence on how the hydrochemistry of upland streams is responding to increasing pressures from environmental changes at the global and regional scales. At the present time, atmospheric deposition remains an issue in many parts of the Scottish uplands, where critical loads of acidity are exceeded, particularly in areas affected by increasing N deposition. Moreover, climatic change forecasts predict increasingly wetter, warmer and more seasonal conditions, which may modify the hydrochemical regimes of many river systems, particularly those with a strong snowmelt component. On a more localised scale, land management practices, including felling of commercial forests, expansion of native woodlands, agricultural decline and moorland management all have implications for the freshwater environment. Moreover, increasing public access to upland areas for a range of recreational activities have implications for water quality. Understanding the hydrology of the uplands, through integrated field and modelling studies, particularly of the hydrological pathways that regulate chemical transfers to streamwaters, will remain an important research frontier for the foreseeable future. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.",
keywords = "hydrology, water quality, hydrochemistry, uplands, Scotland, land-use, Cairngorm Mountains, Northeast Scotland, surface waters, current issues, Dee catchment, river water, NE Scotland, streams, acidification",
author = "C Soulsby and C Gibbins and Wade, {A. J.} and R. Smart and R. Helliwell",
year = "2002",
month = "7",
day = "22",
doi = "10.1016/S0048-9697(02)00057-8",
language = "English",
volume = "294",
pages = "73--94",
journal = "Science of the Total Environment",
issn = "0048-9697",
publisher = "Elsevier",
number = "1-3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Water quality in the Scottish Uplands

T2 - A hydrological perspective on catchment hydrochemistry

AU - Soulsby, C

AU - Gibbins, C

AU - Wade, A. J.

AU - Smart, R.

AU - Helliwell, R.

PY - 2002/7/22

Y1 - 2002/7/22

N2 - Land above 300 m covers approximately 75% of the surface of Scotland and most of the nation's major river systems have their headwaters in this upland environment. The hydrological characteristics of the uplands exert an important influence on the hydrochemistry of both headwater streams and downstream river systems. Thus, many of the spatial and temporal patterns in the chemical quality of surface waters are mediated by hydrological processes that route precipitation through upland catchments. These hydrological pathways also have an important influence on how the hydrochemistry of upland streams is responding to increasing pressures from environmental changes at the global and regional scales. At the present time, atmospheric deposition remains an issue in many parts of the Scottish uplands, where critical loads of acidity are exceeded, particularly in areas affected by increasing N deposition. Moreover, climatic change forecasts predict increasingly wetter, warmer and more seasonal conditions, which may modify the hydrochemical regimes of many river systems, particularly those with a strong snowmelt component. On a more localised scale, land management practices, including felling of commercial forests, expansion of native woodlands, agricultural decline and moorland management all have implications for the freshwater environment. Moreover, increasing public access to upland areas for a range of recreational activities have implications for water quality. Understanding the hydrology of the uplands, through integrated field and modelling studies, particularly of the hydrological pathways that regulate chemical transfers to streamwaters, will remain an important research frontier for the foreseeable future. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

AB - Land above 300 m covers approximately 75% of the surface of Scotland and most of the nation's major river systems have their headwaters in this upland environment. The hydrological characteristics of the uplands exert an important influence on the hydrochemistry of both headwater streams and downstream river systems. Thus, many of the spatial and temporal patterns in the chemical quality of surface waters are mediated by hydrological processes that route precipitation through upland catchments. These hydrological pathways also have an important influence on how the hydrochemistry of upland streams is responding to increasing pressures from environmental changes at the global and regional scales. At the present time, atmospheric deposition remains an issue in many parts of the Scottish uplands, where critical loads of acidity are exceeded, particularly in areas affected by increasing N deposition. Moreover, climatic change forecasts predict increasingly wetter, warmer and more seasonal conditions, which may modify the hydrochemical regimes of many river systems, particularly those with a strong snowmelt component. On a more localised scale, land management practices, including felling of commercial forests, expansion of native woodlands, agricultural decline and moorland management all have implications for the freshwater environment. Moreover, increasing public access to upland areas for a range of recreational activities have implications for water quality. Understanding the hydrology of the uplands, through integrated field and modelling studies, particularly of the hydrological pathways that regulate chemical transfers to streamwaters, will remain an important research frontier for the foreseeable future. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

KW - hydrology

KW - water quality

KW - hydrochemistry

KW - uplands

KW - Scotland

KW - land-use

KW - Cairngorm Mountains

KW - Northeast Scotland

KW - surface waters

KW - current issues

KW - Dee catchment

KW - river water

KW - NE Scotland

KW - streams

KW - acidification

U2 - 10.1016/S0048-9697(02)00057-8

DO - 10.1016/S0048-9697(02)00057-8

M3 - Article

VL - 294

SP - 73

EP - 94

JO - Science of the Total Environment

JF - Science of the Total Environment

SN - 0048-9697

IS - 1-3

ER -