Statistical analysis of nutrient loads from the mississippi-atchafalaya river basin (MARB) to the Gulf of Mexico

Phyllis Okwan, Yi Zhen, Huan Feng, Shinjae Yoo, Murty S. Kambhampati, Abreione Walker, Shayne Boykin, Joe Omojola, Noel Blackburn

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Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8
JournalEnvironments - MDPI
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

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Keywords

  • Gulf of Mexico
  • Nutrient loads
  • Seasonal variations
  • Water quality

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