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Statistical Analysis of Nutrient Loads from the Mississippi-Atchafalaya River Basin (MARB) to the Gulf of Mexico

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Department of Mathematics and Physics, Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge, LA 70813, USA
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Department of Natural Sciences, Southern University at New Orleans, New Orleans, LA 70126, USA
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Department of Earth and Environmental Studies, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ 07043, USA
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Computational Science Initiative, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY 11973, USA
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Office of Educational Programs, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY 11973, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Environments 2020, 7(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7010008
Received: 6 October 2019 / Revised: 12 December 2019 / Accepted: 7 January 2020 / Published: 15 January 2020
This study investigated the annual and seasonal variations in nutrient loads (NO2 + NO3 and orthophosphate) delivered to the Gulf of Mexico from the Mississippi-Atchafalaya River Basin (MARB) and examined the water quality variations. The results indicate that (1) annually, the mean NO2 + NO3 and orthophosphate loads showed a steady increase during 1996–1999, a persistent level during 2000–2007, and a moderate increase during 2008–2016; (2) seasonally, NO2 + NO3 and orthophosphate in MARB in spring and summer were higher than those in autumn and winter. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) identified highly significant differences among seasonal loads; and (3) the median value of NO2 + NO3 in normal weather conditions were higher than that during and right after the hurricanes, while the median value of orthophosphate loads in normal weather conditions was higher than that during the hurricanes, but higher than that right after hurricanes. The two-sample t-test indicates a significant difference (p < 0.046) in orthophosphate loads before and after Hurricane Katrina. Moreover, it is found that there is a significant (p < 0.01) increase in nutrient loads during normal weather conditions. The results indicate that hurricane seasons can significantly influence the nutrient loads from the MARB to the Gulf of Mexico. View Full-Text
Keywords: Gulf of Mexico; nutrient loads; seasonal variations; water quality Gulf of Mexico; nutrient loads; seasonal variations; water quality
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Okwan, P.; Zhen, Y.; Feng, H.; Yoo, S.; Kambhampati, M.S.; Walker, A.; Boykin, S.; Omojola, J.; Blackburn, N. Statistical Analysis of Nutrient Loads from the Mississippi-Atchafalaya River Basin (MARB) to the Gulf of Mexico. Environments 2020, 7, 8.

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