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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2019-3
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2019-3
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Original research article 12 Feb 2019

Original research article | 12 Feb 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal SOIL (SOIL).

Catchment export of base cations: Improved mineral dissolution kinetics influence the role of water transit time

Martin Erlandsson Lampa1,2,a, Harald U. Sverdrup3, Kevin H. Bishop4, Salim Belyazid5, Ali Ameli6, and Stephan J. Köhler4 Martin Erlandsson Lampa et al.
  • 1Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Villavägen 16, 752 36 Uppsala, Sweden
  • 2Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Sciences, Lund University, Sölvegatan 12, 223 62 Lund, Sweden
  • 3Faculty of Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Iceland, Sæmundargata 2, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
  • 4Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7050, 750 07 Uppsala, Sweden
  • 5Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
  • 6Department of Earth, Ocean and Athmospheric Sciences, University of British Columbia, 2020-2207 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada
  • acurrent address: Vattenmyndighetens kansli, Länsstyrelsen i Västmanlands län, 721 86 Västerås, Sweden

Abstract. Soil mineral weathering is one of the major sources of base cations (BC), which play a dual role for a forest ecosystem; they function both as plant nutrients, and for buffering against acidification of catchment runoff. On a long-term basis, the soil weathering rates will determine the highest sustainable forest productivity without causing acidification. It is believed that the hydrologic residence time plays a key role in determining weathering rates on a landscape scale. The weathering model PROFILE has been used for almost 30 years to calculate weathering rates in the rooting zone of forest soils. However, the mineral dissolution equations in PROFILE are not adapted for the unsaturated zone, and employing these equations on a catchment scale results in a significant over-prediction of base cation release rates to surface waters. In this study we use a revised set of PROFILE equations which, among other features, include retardation from silica concentrations. Relationships between the water transit time (WTT) and soil water concentrations were derived for each base cation, by simulating the soil water chemistry along a one-dimensional flowpath, using the mineralogy from a glacial till soil. We show how the revised PROFILE equations are able to reproduce patterns in BC- and Si-concentrations, as well as BC-ratios (Ca2+ / BC, Mg2++ / BC and Na+ / BC), observed in soil water profiles and catchment runoff. As opposed to the original set of PROFILE equations, the revised set of equations could reproduce how increasing WTT led to decreasing Na+ / BC, as well as increasing Ca2+ / BC and Mg2+ / BC. Furthermore, the total release of base cations from a hillslope was calculated using a mixing model, where water of different WTT was mixed according to an externally modelled WTT-distribution. The revised set of equations gave a 50 % lower base cation release (0.23 eq m−2 yr−1) than the original PROFILE equations, and are in better agreement with mass balance calculations of weathering rates. The results from this study thus demonstrate that the revised mineral dissolution equations for PROFILE are a major step forward in modelling weathering rates on a catchment scale.

Martin Erlandsson Lampa et al.
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Martin Erlandsson Lampa et al.
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Short summary
In this study, we demonstrate how new equations describing base cation release from mineral weathering can reproduce patterns in observations from stream and soil water. This is a major step towards modelling base cation cycling on a catchment scale, which would be valuable for defining the highest sustainable rates of forest harvesting and levels of acidifying deposition.
In this study, we demonstrate how new equations describing base cation release from mineral...
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