AQUATIC ACIDIFICATION SENSITIVITY FOR REGIONAL ENVIRONMENT: A MULTI-INDICATOR EVALUATION APPROACH*

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Abstract

With the aggravation of acid rain pollution and the enlarging of the acid rain regions in China, the sensitivity evaluation of natural waters to acidification on a regional scale become increasingly important. Acidification models based on a single indicator cannot give much information on aquatic acidification because of their simplicity; yet acidification models based on physical, chemical, hydrological and/or biological processes are not suitable for large scale regional research because of their exceptional complexity. In this paper, a multi-indicator comprehensive model for aquatic acidification sensitivity is proposed and applied. This model comprises some of the most important factors that are considered to influence water acidification, in particular: acid neutralization capacity, acidification capacity, acidification sensitive index, cation exchange capacity of soil, pH of soil, and weathering shuck types of soil-forming. It highlights the key stages of aquatic acidification by acid neutralization capacity, acidification capacity, and acidification sensitivity index. The model thereby estimates the acidification sensitivity of natural waters by using these indicators according to a weighting system. Equal-weight and non-equal-weight approaches are separately used to combine the six indicators into an overall sensitivity index of aquatic acidification. The result derived from an application to China on a national scale indicates the practicability of this approach. In China, the sensitive natural waters emerge in Southern China, which is already a heavy acid rain region, and in Northeastern China where the rainwater is beginning to become much acidic.

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