UFZ-Seminar "Water and Environment"

Programme 2016

29 January 2016, 11am - Marc Piepoch (University of Montana, Institute on Ecosystems)
15 February 2016, 3pm - Eric von Elert (Universität zu Köln)
18 April 2016, 3pm - Peter Krebs (TU Dresden)
23 May 2016, 3pm - Gregor Ollesch (RBC Elbe)
15 August 2016, 3pm - Stan Harpole (Department of Physiological Diversity, UFZ)
5 September 2016, 3pm - Martyn Futter (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, University Uppsala)
19 September 2016, 3pm - Michael Mutz (BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg)
17 October 2016, 3pm - Stefan Uhlenbrook (UN WWAP, UNESCO, Perugia, Italy)

Martyn Futter (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, University Uppsala)

Conceptual, empirical and process-based approaches to modelling surface water dissolved organic carbon

Monday, September 5th 2016, 3pm
Brückstraße 3a, 39114 Magdeburg, Seminarroom

Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) is a cornerstone parameter for aquatic ecosystem function, contaminant and nutrient transport, drinking water supply and the global carbon budget. Surface water DOC concentrations have been increasing in many parts of the northern hemisphere due to a combination of factors including climate change, recovery from acidification and land management. These increases are a concern as they can reduce lake productivity, increase the transport of heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants and lead to higher costs for drinking water treatment.
Conceptual, empirical and process-based models all are needed, both to understand present day controls on surface water DOC and to project possible future changes. Here, I will present a generic conceptual framework for modelling catchment-scale organic carbon dynamics based on production, mobilisation, transport and loss processes. The framework can be used to resolve apparently contradictory observations of DOC behaviour, to make qualitative projections of future conditions and to guide the design of empirical and process-based models.
Using examples from Scandinavia and North America, I will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of empirical and process-based modelling approaches to simulating the behaviour of surface water DOC. Specifically, I will highlight the tension between the goals of parsimony and completeness as they relate to environmental modelling. I will conclude with some open questions about DOC modelling in particular and catchment biogeochemical simulation in general.