Author(s): Bolster CH, Vadas PA
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Abstract Models are often used to predict phosphorus (P) loss from agricultural fields. Although it is commonly recognized that model predictions are inherently uncertain, few studies have addressed prediction uncertainties using P loss models. In this study we assessed the effect of model input error on predictions of annual P loss by the Annual P Loss Estimator (APLE) model. Our objectives were (i) to conduct a sensitivity analyses for all APLE input variables to determine which variables the model is most sensitive to, (ii) to determine whether the relatively easy-to-implement first-order approximation (FOA) method provides accurate estimates of model prediction uncertainties by comparing results with the more accurate Monte Carlo simulation (MCS) method, and (iii) to evaluate the performance of the APLE model against measured P loss data when uncertainties in model predictions and measured data are included. Our results showed that for low to moderate uncertainties in APLE input variables, the FOA method yields reasonable estimates of model prediction uncertainties, although for cases where manure solid content is between 14 and 17\%, the FOA method may not be as accurate as the MCS method due to a discontinuity in the manure P loss component of APLE at a manure solid content of 15\%. The estimated uncertainties in APLE predictions based on assumed errors in the input variables ranged from ±2 to 64\% of the predicted value. Results from this study highlight the importance of including reasonable estimates of model uncertainty when using models to predict P loss. Copyright © by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, Inc.
This article was published in J Environ Qual
and referenced in Hydrology: Current Research