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1 August 2011 Empirical Critical Loads of Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition for Nutrient Enrichment and Acidification of Sensitive US Lakes
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Abstract
The ecological effects of elevated atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition on high-elevation lakes of the western and northeastern United States include nutrient enrichment and acidification. The nutrient enrichment critical load for western lakes ranged from 1.0 to 3.0 kilograms (kg) of N per hectare (ha) per year, reflecting the nearly nonexistent watershed vegetation in complex, snowmelt-dominated terrain. The nutrient enrichment critical load for northeastern lakes ranged from 3.5 to 6.0 kg N per ha per year. The N acidification critical loads associated with episodic N pulses in waters with low values of acid neutralizing capacity were 4.0 kg N per ha per year (western) and 8.0 kg N per ha per year (northeastern). The empirical critical loads for N-caused acidification were difficult to determine because of a lack of observations in the West, and high sulfur deposition in the East. For both nutrient enrichment and acidification, the N critical load was a function of how atmospheric N deposition was determined.
© 2011 by American Institute of Biological Sciences. All rights reserved. Request permission to photocopy or reproduce article content at the University of California Press's Rights and Permissions Web site at www.ucpressjournals.com/reprintinfo.asp.
Jill S. Baron, Charles T. Driscoll, John L. Stoddard and Eric E. Richer "Empirical Critical Loads of Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition for Nutrient Enrichment and Acidification of Sensitive US Lakes," BioScience 61(8), (1 August 2011). https://doi.org/10.1525/bio.2011.61.8.6
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