Validation of regression models for nitrate concentrations in the upper groundwater in sandy soils

M.P.W. Sonneveld, D.J. Brus, J. Roelsma

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For Dutch sandy regions, linear regression models have been developed that predict nitrate concentrations in the upper groundwater on the basis of residual nitrate contents in the soil in autumn. The objective of our study was to validate these regression models for one particular sandy region dominated by dairy farming. No data from this area were used for calibrating the regression models. The model was validated by additional probability sampling. This sample was used to estimate errors in 1) the predicted areal fractions where the EU standard of 50 mg l-1 is exceeded for farms with low N surpluses (ALT) and farms with higher N surpluses (REF); 2) predicted cumulative frequency distributions of nitrate concentration for both groups of farms.Both the errors in the predicted areal fractions as well as the errors in the predicted cumulative frequency distributions indicate that the regression models are invalid for the sandy soils of this study area.This study indicates that linear regression models that predict nitrate concentrations in the upper groundwater using residual soil N contents should be applied with care
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)92-97
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • leaching losses
  • nitrogen
  • netherlands
  • agriculture
  • performance
  • regions
  • limits
  • farms

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