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Impacts of different types of El Niño events on water quality over the Corn Belt, United States

Publication ,  Journal Article
Chen, P; Li, W; He, K
Published in: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences
October 6, 2022

The United States Corn Belt region, which primarily includes two large basins, namely, the Ohio-Tennessee River basin (OTRB) and the Upper Mississippi River basin (UMRB), is responsible for the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone. Climate patterns such as El Niño can affect the runoff and thus the water quality over the Corn Belt. In this study, the impacts of eastern Pacific (EP) and central Pacific (CP) El Niño events on water quality over the Corn Belt region were analyzed using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) models. Our results indicated that, at the outlets, annual total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) loads decreased by 13.1% and 14.0% at OTRB and 18.5% and 19.8% at UMRB, respectively, during the EP El Niño years, whereas during the CP El Niño years, they increased by 3.3% and 4.6% at OTRB and 5.7% and 4.4% at UMRB, respectively. On the subbasin scales, more subbasins showed negative (positive) anomalies of TN and TP during EP (CP) El Niño. A seasonal study confirmed that water quality anomalies showed the opposite patterns during EP and CP El Niño years. At the outlet of OTRB, seasonal anomalies in nutrients matched the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phases, illustrating the importance of climate variables associated with the two types of El Niño events on water quality in the region. At the UMRB, TN and TP were also influenced by agricultural activities within the region, and their anomalies became greater in the growing seasons during both EP and CP El Niño years. A quantitative analysis of precipitation, temperature, and their effects on nutrients suggested that precipitation played a more important role than temperature did in altering the water quality in the Corn Belt region during both types of El Niño years. We also found specific watersheds (located in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Indiana) that faced the greatest increases in TN and TP loads and were affected by both the precipitation and agricultural activities during the CP El Niño years. The information generated from this study may help proper decision-making for water environment protection over the Corn Belt.

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Published In

Hydrology and Earth System Sciences

DOI

EISSN

1607-7938

ISSN

1027-5606

Publication Date

October 6, 2022

Volume

26

Issue

19

Start / End Page

4875 / 4892

Related Subject Headings

  • Environmental Engineering
  • 4013 Geomatic engineering
  • 3709 Physical geography and environmental geoscience
  • 3707 Hydrology
  • 0907 Environmental Engineering
  • 0905 Civil Engineering
  • 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience
 

Citation

APA
Chicago
ICMJE
MLA
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Chen, P., Li, W., & He, K. (2022). Impacts of different types of El Niño events on water quality over the Corn Belt, United States. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 26(19), 4875–4892. https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-26-4875-2022
Chen, P., W. Li, and K. He. “Impacts of different types of El Niño events on water quality over the Corn Belt, United States.” Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 26, no. 19 (October 6, 2022): 4875–92. https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-26-4875-2022.
Chen P, Li W, He K. Impacts of different types of El Niño events on water quality over the Corn Belt, United States. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences. 2022 Oct 6;26(19):4875–92.
Chen, P., et al. “Impacts of different types of El Niño events on water quality over the Corn Belt, United States.” Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, vol. 26, no. 19, Oct. 2022, pp. 4875–92. Scopus, doi:10.5194/hess-26-4875-2022.
Chen P, Li W, He K. Impacts of different types of El Niño events on water quality over the Corn Belt, United States. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences. 2022 Oct 6;26(19):4875–4892.

Published In

Hydrology and Earth System Sciences

DOI

EISSN

1607-7938

ISSN

1027-5606

Publication Date

October 6, 2022

Volume

26

Issue

19

Start / End Page

4875 / 4892

Related Subject Headings

  • Environmental Engineering
  • 4013 Geomatic engineering
  • 3709 Physical geography and environmental geoscience
  • 3707 Hydrology
  • 0907 Environmental Engineering
  • 0905 Civil Engineering
  • 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience