EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Modelling nitrogen transport across compartments over northern Europe

Stefan Hagemann1, Ute Daewel1, Volker Matthias2, and Tobias Stacke1,2
Stefan Hagemann et al.
  • 1Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Institute of Coastal Systems - Analysis and Modelling, Geesthacht, Germany (
  • 2Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Institute of Biogeochemistry in Coastal Seas, Geesthacht, Germany

River discharge and the associated nutrient loads are important factors that influence the functioning of the marine ecosystem. Lateral inflows from land carrying fresh, nutrient-rich water determine coastal physical conditions and nutrient concentration and, hence, dominantly influence primary production in the system. Since this forms the basis of the trophic food web, riverine nutrient concentrations impact the variability of the whole coastal ecosystem. This process becomes even more relevant in systems like the Baltic Sea, which is almost decoupled from the open ocean and land-borne nutrients play a major role for ecosystem productivity on seasonal up to decadal time scales.


In order to represent the effects of climate or land use change on nutrient availability, a coupled system approach is required to simulate the transport of nutrients across Earth system compartments. This comprises their transport within the atmosphere, the deposition and human application at the surface, the lateral transport over the land surface into the ocean and their dynamics and transformation in the marine ecosystem. In our study, we combine these processes in a modelling chain within the GCOAST (Geesthacht Coupled cOAstal model SysTem) framework for the northern European region. This modelling chain comprises:


  • Simulation of emissions, atmospheric transport and deposition with the chemistry transport model CMAQ at 36 km grid resolution using atmospheric forcing from the coastDat3 data that have been generated with the regional climate model COSMO-CLM over Europe at 0.11° resolution using ERA-Interim re-analyses as boundary conditions
  • Simulation of inert processes at the land surface with the global hydrology model HydroPy (former MPI-HM), i.e. considering total nitrogen without any chemical reactions
  • Riverine transport with the Hydrological Discharge (HD) model at 0.0833° spatial resolution
  • Simulation of the North Sea and Baltic Sea ecosystems with 3D coupled physical-biogeochemical NPZD-model ECOSMO II at about 10 km resolution


We will present first results and their validation from this exercise.


How to cite: Hagemann, S., Daewel, U., Matthias, V., and Stacke, T.: Modelling nitrogen transport across compartments over northern Europe, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-8166,, 2021.

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