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Water 2016, 8(4), 158; doi:10.3390/w8040158

Quantifying Spatial Changes in the Structure of Water Quality Constituents in a Large Prairie River within Two Frameworks of a Water Quality Model

1
Global Institute for Water Security, University of Saskatchewan, 11 Innovation Boulevard, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, S7N 3H5
2
Department of Geography, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Y. Jun Xu
Received: 29 October 2015 / Revised: 1 April 2016 / Accepted: 12 April 2016 / Published: 20 April 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geospatial Modeling of River Systems)
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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. View Full-Text
Keywords: water quality modeling; global sensitivity analysis; ice cover conditions; South Saskatchewan River; WASP water quality modeling; global sensitivity analysis; ice cover conditions; South Saskatchewan River; WASP
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Hosseini, N.; Chun, K.P.; Lindenschmidt, K.-E. Quantifying Spatial Changes in the Structure of Water Quality Constituents in a Large Prairie River within Two Frameworks of a Water Quality Model. Water 2016, 8, 158.

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