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Sensitivity to change for low-ANC eastern US lakes and streams and brook trout populations under alternative sulfate deposition scenarios

Sensitivity to change for low-ANC eastern US lakes and streams and brook trout populations under alternative sulfate deposition scenarios

Environmental Pollution 77(2-3): 269-277

ISSN/ISBN: 0269-7491

PMID: 15091968

DOI: 10.1016/0269-7491(92)90086-p

A weight-of-evidence approach was used by the US National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program (NAPAP) to assess the sensitivity of chemistry and biology of lakes and streams to hypothesized changes in sulfate deposition over the next 50 years. The analyses focused on projected effects in response to differences in the magnitude and the timing of changes in sulfate deposition in the north-eastern United States, the Mid-Appalachian Highlands, and the Southern Blue Ridge Province. A number of tools was used to provide the weight of evidence that is required to have confidence in an assessment that has many uncertainties because of the complexity of the systems for which the projections of future conditions were made and because of limited historical data. The MAGIC model provided the projections of chemical changes in response to alternative deposition scenarios. Projected chemical conditions were input into biological models that evaluate effects on fish populations. The sensitivity of water chemistry and brook trout resources to the hypothesized changes in deposition was found to be greatest in the Adirondacks and Mid-Atlantic Highlands. Under the hypothesized sulfur deposition reduction scenarios, chemical conditions suitable for fish were projected to improve 20-30 years sooner than with the scenario that assumed no new legislated controls. Other lines of evidence, e.g. other models, field observations, and paleolimnological findings, were used to evaluate uncertainty in the projections. Model parameter/calibration uncertainty for the chemical models and population sampling uncertainty were explicitly quantified. Model structural uncertainties were bracketed using model comparisons, recent measured changes, and paleolimnological reconstructions of historical changes in lake chemistry.

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Accession: 018111275

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