Modeling Primary Production

The primary production process schematically illustrated on Figure 11.1 is complex in nature but can be described in mathematical terms. Mass balance equations can be formulated for a natural water system by which the inputs in mass units can be modulated by the physics and transport characteristics of the system, along with inclusion of relevant instream source and sink mechanisms to produce response concentration values for nutrients, algae, oxygen and other relevant variables varying in time and space. The development of a predictive model based on these mathematical expressions allows for cause and effect mechanisms to be expressed and evaluated. The mathematical model can be tested against real world observations to assess whether the model and internal formulations are realistic and valid. If so, the model can then be used to assess the relative importance of pollutant loads and other factors contributing to water quality problems. The model can then serve as a management tool to test the effectiveness of various pollutant control actions.

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