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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Vadose Zone Processes and Chemical Transport

Estimating Nitrate Leaching with a Transfer Function Model Incorporating Net Mineralization and Uptake of Nitrogen


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 32 No. 4, p. 1455-1463
    Received: Apr 7, 2002

    * Corresponding author(s): renduo@uwyo.edu
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  1. Li Rena,
  2. Junhua Maa and
  3. Renduo Zhang *b
  1. a Department of Soil and Water Sciences, China Agricultural University, and Key Laboratory of Plant–Soil Interactions, MOE, Beijing, 100094, China
    b Department of Renewable Resources, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071-3354 and Department of Water Resources, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China


Because of the complex interaction of chemical and biological processes of nitrogen (N) in soils, it is difficult to estimate the leaching of nitrate with various N transformations in porous media. In this study, a transfer function model was developed to simulate the outflow concentration of nitrate in soils during the growth of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), taking into account the main N transformations using source and sink terms. The source and sink terms were treated as inputs to the solute transport volume and incorporated into the transfer function model to characterize their effects on nitrate concentration in the outflow. A field experiment was conducted in three nonweighing lysimeters for 181 d. Nitrate concentrations were measured along the 2-m soil profile of each lysimeter at different times. Comparison between the experimental data and simulated results with the transfer function showed that the model provided reasonable prediction of the nitrate leaching process as well as the total amount leached. Results also indicated that considering the N transformations in the transfer function significantly increased the estimation accuracy. The relative errors of total amount leached were <7% with the N transformations included, but up to 17% without including the transformation processes.

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Copyright © 2003. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.32:1455–1463.