Quantifying spatial changes in the structure of water quality constituents in a large prairie river within two frameworks of a water quality model

Nasim Hosseini*, Kwok Pan CHUN, Karl Erich Lindenschmidt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A global sensitivity analysis was carried out on a water quality model to quantify the spatial changes in parameter sensitivity of a model of a large prairie river, the South Saskatchewan River (SSR). The method is used to assess the relative impacts of major nutrient loading sources and a reservoir on the river's water quality. The river completely freezes over during winter; hence, the sensitivity analysis was carried out seasonally, for winter and summer, to account for the influence of ice-covered conditions on nutrient transformations. Furthermore, the integrity of the river's aquatic ecosystem was examined through the inter-relationship between variables and comparing hierarchy index values and water quality indices at four locations along the river. Sensitivities of model parameters varied slightly at different locations along the river, with the phytoplankton growth rate being the most influential parameter. Nitrogen and phosphorus transformation processes were more sensitive in winter, while chlorophyll-a and dissolved oxygen parameters showed higher sensitivity in summer. A more complicated correlation between variables was observed downstream of the junction of the Red Deer River. Our results reveal that the lower correlation between variables may suggest a more balanced and healthier system, although further analysis is needed to support this statement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number158
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Volume8
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Global sensitivity analysis
  • Ice cover conditions
  • South Saskatchewan River
  • WASP
  • Water quality modeling

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