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Environ Pollut. 2006 May;141(1):139-50. Epub 2005 Oct 10.

Simulating the long-term chemistry of an upland UK catchment: heavy metals.

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  • 1Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (Lancaster), Library Avenue, Bailrigg, Lancaster LA1 4AP, UK.


CHUM-AM was used to investigate the behaviours of atmospherically-deposited heavy metals (Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd and Pb) in three moorland sub-catchments in Cumbria UK. The principal processes controlling cationic metals are competitive partitioning to soil organic matter, chemical interactions in solution, and chemical weathering. Metal deposition histories were generated by combining measured data for the last 30 years with local lake sediment records. For Ni, Cu, Zn and Cd, default parameters for the interactions with organic matter provided reasonable agreement between simulated and observed present-day soil metal pools and average streamwater concentrations. However, for Pb, the soil binding affinity in the model had to be increased to match the observations. Simulations suggest that weakly-sorbing metals (Ni, Zn, Cd) will respond on timescales of decades to centuries to changes in metal inputs or acidification status. More strongly-sorbing metals (Cu, Pb) will respond over centuries to millennia.

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