A flow-weighted approach to generate daily total phosphorus loads in streams based on seasonal loads
Phosphorus (P) is an essential nutrient for all forms of life but its over-enrichment can result in eutrophication of surface waters. For many watersheds around the world, some seasonal total P (TP) load datasets may exist but the continuous and multi-year daily TP concentrations and/or load datasets are not available due to the lacks of in situ P sensor measurement, time-consuming, and budget constraint. Traditionally, the seasonal TP loads are normally obtained with measuring daily TP concentrations for a couple of times within a season in a watershed, and then these daily TP concentrations along with their respective daily discharges are used to calculate the seasonal TP loads for the watershed. However, without the continuous and multi-year daily TP load dataset, development of total maximum daily load (TMDL) and calibration of watershed models for TP cannot be achieved. A fow-weighted method was developed (with detailed procedures) here to generate the daily TP loads based on the seasonal loads. The method was rigorously validated using the measured daily TP datasets from three diferent US Geological Survey gage stations. With very good statistical comparisons between the method predicted and feld measured TP loads, we demonstrated that the fow-weighted method herein is a useful tool to disaggregate the seasonal TP loads into the daily TP loads when the measured daily TP data are not available while the TMDL development and model calibrations/validations are inevitable.