University of Oulu

Joy Bhattacharjee, Hannu Marttila, Samuli Launiainen, Ahti Lepistö, Bjørn Kløve, Combined use of satellite image analysis, land-use statistics, and land-use-specific export coefficients to predict nutrients in drained peatland catchment, Science of The Total Environment, Volume 779, 2021, 146419, ISSN 0048-9697,

Combined use of satellite image analysis, land-use statistics, and land-use-specific export coefficients to predict nutrients in drained peatland catchment

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Author: Bhattacharjee, Joy1; Marttila, Hannu1; Launiainen, Samuli2;
Organizations: 1Water, Energy and Environmental Engineering Research Unit, PO Box 4300, 90014 University of Oulu, Finland
2Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Latokartanonkaari 9, 00790 Helsinki, Finland
3Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), Latokartanonkaari 11, 00790 Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 4.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-05-07


Maintaining and improving surface water quality requires knowledge of nutrient and sediment loads due to past and future land-use practices, but historical data on land cover and its changes are often lacking. In this study, we tested whether land-use-specific export coefficients can be used together with satellite images (Landsat) and/or regional land-use statistics to estimate riverine nutrient loads and concentrations of total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP), and suspended solids (SS). The study area, Simojoki (3160 km²) in northern Finland, has been intensively drained for peatland forestry since the 1960s. We used different approaches at multiple sub-catchment scales to simulate TN, TP, and SS export in the Simojoki catchment. The uncertainty in estimates based on specific export coefficients was quantified based on historical land-use changes (derived from Landsat data), and an uncertainty boundary was established for each land-use. The uncertainty boundary captured at least 60% of measured values of TN, TP, and SS loads or concentrations. However, the uncertainty in estimates compared with measured values ranged from 7% to 20% for TN, 0% to 18% for TP, and 13% to 43% for SS for different catchments. Some discrepancy between predicted and measured loads and concentrations was expected, as the method did not account for inter-annual variability in hydrological conditions or river processes. However, combining historical land-use change estimates with simple export coefficients can be a practical approach for evaluating the influence on water quality of historical land-use changes such as peatland drainage for forest establishment.

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Series: Science of the total environment
ISSN: 0048-9697
ISSN-E: 1879-1026
ISSN-L: 0048-9697
Volume: 779
Article number: 146419
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.146419
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 218 Environmental engineering
Funding: This work was part of the Nordic Centre of Excellence BIOWATER, funded by Nordforsk under project number 82263.
Copyright information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (