Thünen Institute of Rural Studies & Forschungszentrum Jülich, Agrosphere Institute (IBG-3)

Project name:
“Regional modelling of MP in agricultural soils” and “Hydrological modelling of diffuse and point source MP-inputs into river catchments”

Project description:
Although most of the microplastics (MP) reaches the marine environment via river systems, only little reliable data is available about the MP input into rivers. Methodological approaches for determining inland MP sources and input pathways on catchment level are a prerequisite for developing strategies to reduce plastic emissions by river runoff to coastal areas.

Thünen Institute of Rural Studies
Thünen Institute of Rural Studies

The Thünen Institute of Rural Studies and the Agrosphere Institute of the Forschungzentrum Jülich develope a modelling framework to analyze MP emissions into the Weser (PLAWES project) river and the Warnow river (MicroCatch_Balt project) in two interdisciplinary research projects.. Both

projects are part of the framework program “Research for Sustainable Development” (FONA) funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF).

In both projects, the Thünen Institute analyses MP immissions into agricultural soils from different MP sources (e.g., from sewage sludge, compost) and the associated potential for MP enrichment. The methodological approach is based on the Regionalized Agricultural and Environmental Information System (RAUMIS).

Forschungszentrum Jülich
Forschungszentrum Jülich

In the same projects, the Forschungszentrum Jülich focuses on the spatially resolved quantification of diffuse and point source micro-plastic inputs into the Warnow and Weser river systems down to their coastal waters and the identification of hot-spot areas within the catchment areas. For this purpose, the hydrological model mGROWA will be used to depict the spatial variability of the hydrological conditions in high temporal (daily) resolution and identify the relevant water-borne micro-plastic input pathways. The MEPhos model concept will be used to derive MP export coefficients specific for relevant sources and pathways.

Herrmann, F., Keller, L., Kunkel, R., Vereecken, H. & Wendland, F. (2015): Determination of spatially differentiated water balance components including groundwater recharge on the Federal State level – A case study using the mGROWA model in North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany).- Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, pp 294-312.

Kreins, P., Gömann, H., Heidecke, C., Hirt, U., Wendland, F. (2010): Modelling network for analysing diffuse nitrogen leaching reduction in agriculture to meet the targets of the water framework directive in the Weser River Basin of Germany. In: Steusloff H (ed) IWRM Integrated Water Resources Management Karlsruhe 2010 : Karlsruhe: KIT Scientific Publishing, pp 200-206.

Tetzlaff, B., H. Vereecken, R. Kunkel & F. Wendland (2009): Modelling phosphorus inputs from agricultural sources and urban areas in river basins. Environmental Geology, 57, pp 183-193.