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Environmental change and atmospheric contamination across China as indicated by lake sediments (Joint Project Q741)

Rose, NL; Appleby, PG; Bennion, H; Boyle, JF; Cai, S; Du, Y; Yi, C; (2000) Environmental change and atmospheric contamination across China as indicated by lake sediments (Joint Project Q741). (ECRC Research Reports 73 ). UCL Environmental Change Research Centre: London, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

In China, anthropogenic impact from changes in water quality, land-use and atmospheric deposition vary both spatially and temporally. There is a gradient across the country from the populous lowlands in the east, where considerable long-term impact on water bodies has resulted from centuries of agricultural and aquacultural practices superimposed by more recent, rapid industrial growth; to the mountainous west where many areas remain minimally impacted and any anthropogenic impact is restricted to long-range transport of atmospheric pollutants and change in climate. Currently, however, there is little information on temporal trends in atmospheric deposition. The importance of water resources in China cannot be overestimated and therefore determining the extent, rate and direction of change in water quality is a national priority. In the absence of long-term monitoring programmes, lake sediments remain the only way whereby this information can be retrospectively determined at the necessary temporal scale to ascertain whether the causes of any detriment in quality are as a result of natural changes, or due to agricultural or industrial impacts. Therefore, the aim of this research programme is to use lake sediments from three regions of China to detennine the extent to which impacts to lakes have changed through time and the causes of these changes. The project focuses on an east - west transect along the Yangtse River. The Middle and Lower Reaches of the Yangtse are undergoing exceptionally rapid economic and industrial development and this region is receiving a great deal of attention as the Three Gorges Dam undergoes construction. The three areas in which lakes are to be studied in this proposal are: l. Jiangsu Province in east China north of Shanghai. Lowland sites. Lakes in this area are likely to have been impacted by long-term agriculture and may therefore may have become eutrophic. Atmospheric deposition may also be significant from local and regional industrial sources. 2. The upper reaches of the Yangtse River, in Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces. Lakes at l-2000m. Lakes in this area may have been impacted by agriculture, but where possible sites will be selected where direct impact is minimal. Lakes may therefore be mesotrophic but sources of atmospherically derived industrial pollutants are likely to be remote. 3. The Tibetan Plateau. Lakes at 4 - 5000m. 'Control' sites in a pristine area with minimal human influence. Sediment cores from these sites will be used to detem1ine background levels of atmospherically deposited contaminants. Oligotrophic (low nutrient) sites on sensitive geology (low acid neutralising capacity e.g. granites) will be selected where possible. By including earlier collaborative work between the participating institutes (funded by the Royal Society and the Chinese Academy of Sciences) on the lake sediment records on the Jianghan Plain and research currently being undertaken on lakes in the Shennonggjia region in western Hubei (NNFSC funded), this study will produce a transect of lakes from five regions providing a unique database on the historical impact of human activity on the freshwater environment.

Type: Report
Title: Environmental change and atmospheric contamination across China as indicated by lake sediments (Joint Project Q741)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://www.geog.ucl.ac.uk/research/research-centr...
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10112433
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