Phosphorus loadings to the world's largest lakes: sources and trends

Fink, Gabriel, Alcamo, Joseph, Flörke, Martina and Reder, Klara (2018) Phosphorus loadings to the world's largest lakes: sources and trends. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 32 (4). pp. 617-634. ISSN 0886-6236

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Abstract

Eutrophication is a major water quality issue in lakes worldwide and is principally caused by the loadings of phosphorus from catchment areas. It follows that to develop strategies to mitigate eutrophication, we must have a good understanding of the amount, sources, and trends of phosphorus pollution. This paper provides the first consistent and harmonious estimates of current phosphorus loadings to the world's largest 100 lakes, along with the sources of these loadings and their trends. These estimates provide a perspective on the extent of lake eutrophication worldwide, as well as potential input to the evaluation and management of eutrophication in these lakes. We take a modeling approach and apply the WorldQual model for these estimates. The advantage of this approach is that it allows us to fill in large gaps in observational data. From the analysis, we find that about 66 of the 100 lakes are located in developing countries and their catchments have a much larger average phosphorus yield than the lake catchments in developed countries (11.1 versus 0.7 kg TP km−2 year−1). Second, the main source of phosphorus to the examined lakes is inorganic fertilizer (47% of total). Third, between 2005–2010 and 1990–1994, phosphorus pollution increased at 50 out of 100 lakes. Sixty percent of lakes with increasing pollution are in developing countries. P pollution changed primarily due to changing P fertilizer use. In conclusion, we show that the risk of P‐stimulated eutrophication is higher in developing countries.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Research Centres and Groups: Sussex Sustainability Research Programme
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Depositing User: Sharon Krummel
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2020 10:33
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2020 10:33
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/89910
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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Seventh ProgrammeUnsetEuropean UnionFP7/2007‐2013