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Estimating Nutrients and Chlorophyll a Relationships in Finnish Lakes

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journal contribution
posted on 15.12.2006 by Olli Malve, Song S. Qian
We model the response of chlorophyll aa surrogate for the phytoplankton community volumeto variations in lake total phosphorus (TP) and total nitrogen (TN) concentrations. The model is fitted to a large cross-sectional data set from the Finnish Lake monitoring network. The objective is to support the Finnish Government in identifying management actions to achieve compliance of the chlorophyll a concentration standard with a given confidence level and to provide tools for the estimation of critical (target) loads for nutrients in monitored lakes. We develop a Bayesian hierarchical linear model which combines advantages of both the currently preferred non-hierarchical lake-type-specific linear model and lake-specific linear model fitted separately using data from a single lake. The hierarchical model is less biased at lake-level compared to the lake type model. In contrast to the lake model, it predicts the lake specific chlorophyll a response to nutrients outside the lake specific observational range. The hierarchical model is used to calculate probabilities of chlorophyll a concentration exceeding the standard under different nitrogen and phosphorus concentration combinations. These probabilities can be used to estimate acceptable nitrogen−phosphorus concentration combinations by a lake manager. We discuss how our study can be useful in implementing the European Water Framework Directive.

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