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Nutrient budgets for large Chinese estuaries

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Author(s): S. M. Liu | G.-H. Hong | J. Zhang | X. W. Ye | X. L. Jiang

Journal: Biogeosciences
ISSN 1726-4170

Volume: 6;
Issue: 10;
Start page: 2245;
Date: 2009;
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ABSTRACT
Chinese rivers deliver about 5–10% of global freshwater input and 15–20% of the global continental sediment to the world ocean. We report the riverine fluxes and concentrations of major nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and silicon) in the rivers of the contiguous landmass of China and Korea in the northeast Asia. The rivers are generally enriched with dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) and depleted in dissolved inorganic phosphate (PO43−) with very high DIN: PO43− concentration ratios. DIN, phosphorus, and silicon levels and loads in rivers are mainly affected by agriculture activities and urbanization, anthropogenic activities and adsorption on particulates, and rock types, climate and physical denudation intensity, respectively. Nutrient transports by rivers in the summer are 3–4 times higher than those in the winter with the exception of NH4+. The flux of NH4+ is rather constant throughout the year due to the anthropogenic sources such as the sewer discharge. As nutrient composition has changed in the rivers, ecosystems in estuaries and coastal sea have also changed in recent decades. Among the changes, a shift of limiting nutrients from phosphorus to nitrogen for phytoplankton production with urbanization is noticeable and in some areas silicon becomes the limiting nutrient for diatom productivity. A simple steady-state mass-balance box model was employed to assess nutrient budgets in the estuaries. The major Chinese estuaries export
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