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TOPCAT-NP: A minimum information requirement model for simulation of flow and nutrient transport from agricultural systems

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Paul Quinn, Dr Caspar HewettORCiD, Nandani Dayawansa


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Future catchment planning requires a good understanding of the impacts of land use and management, especially with regard to nutrient pollution. A range of readily usable tools, including models, can play a critical role in underpinning robust decision-making. Modelling tools must articulate our process understanding, make links to a range of catchment characteristics and scales and have the capability to reflect future land-use management changes. Hence, the model application can play an important part in giving confidence to policy makers that positive outcomes will arise from any proposed land-use changes. Here, a minimum information requirement (MIR) modelling approach is presented that creates simple, parsimonious models based on more complex physically based models, which makes the model more appropriate to catchment-scale applications. This paper shows three separate MIR models that represent flow, nitrate losses and phosphorus losses. These models are integrated into a single catchment model (TOPCAT-NP), which has the advantage that certain model components (such as soil type and flow paths) are shared by all three MIR models. The integrated model can simulate a number of land-use activities that relate to typical land-use management practices. The modelling process also gives insight into the seasonal and event nature of nutrient losses exhibited at a range of catchment scales. Three case studies are presented to reflect the range of applicability of the model. The three studies show how different runoff and nutrient loss regimes in different soil/geological and global locations can be simulated using the same model. The first case study models intense agricultural land uses in Denmark (Gjern, 114 km2), the second is an intense agricultural area dominated by high superphosphate applications in Australia (Ellen Brook, 66 km2) and the third is a small research-scale catchment in the UK (Bollington Hall, 2 km2). Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Quinn PF, Hewett CJM, Dayawansa NDK

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Hydrological Processes

Year: 2008

Volume: 22

Issue: 14

Pages: 2565-2580

ISSN (print): 0885-6087

ISSN (electronic): 1099-1085

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


DOI: 10.1002/hyp.6855


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