Nutrient export by rivers may cause coastal eutrophication. Some river basins, however, export more nutrients than others. We model the Basin-Wide Nutrient Export (BWNE) Index, defined as nutrient export by rivers as percentage of external nutrient inputs in the basins. We present results for rivers worldwide for the period 1970–2050. The results indicate that nutrient retentions differ largely among basins. They indicate that BWNE increases with nutrient inputs to the land, indicating that the percentage of, for instance, fertilizers exported to sea increases with fertilization rate. We argue that a better understanding of the BWNE Index might help to identify where measures and technologies to reduce nutrient inputs to coastal waters are most effective.
- coastal zone