Modelling of Nutrient Emissions in River Systems – MONERIS – Methods and Background



MONERIS is a semi-empirical, conceptual model, which has gained international acceptance as a robust meso- to macro scale model for nutrient emissions. MONERIS is used to calculate nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) emissions into surface waters, in-stream retention, and resulting loads, on a river catchment scale. This paper provides the first (i) comprehensive overview of the model structure (both the original elements and the new additions), (ii) depiction of the algorithms used for all pathways, and for retention in surface waters, and (iii) illustration of the monthly disaggregation of emissions and the implementation of measures. The model can be used for different climatic conditions, long term historical studies, and for future development scenarios. The minimum validated spatial resolution is 50 km2, with a temporal resolution of yearly or monthly time steps. The model considers seven emission pathways (atmospheric deposition on surface waters, overland flow, erosion, tile drainage, groundwater, emissions from sealed urban areas, and point sources), and six emission sources (natural background, fertilizer application, nitrogen atmospheric deposition on arable land and other areas, urban sources, and point sources); and these are calculated separately for different land-uses. The pathway and source-related approach is a prerequisite for the implementation of measures to reduce non-point and point-source emissions. Therefore, we have modified MONERIS by the addition of a “management alternative” tool which can identify the potential effectiveness of nutrient reduction measures. MONERIS is an appropriate tool for addressing the scientific and political aspects of river basin management in support of a good surface water quality. (© 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)