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Relation of climate change to the acidification of surface waters by nitrogen deposition

Environmental Science and Technology

By:
, , and
DOI: 10.1021/es9708631

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Abstract

Abrupt increases and decreases in mean seasonal and annual stream NO3- concentrations during the period of record (1983-1995) at Biscuit Brook, a headwater stream in the Catskill Mountains of New York, have provided an opportunity to study the biogeochemical processes that control NO3- movement through forested watersheds. The Catskills receive the highest rate of NO3- deposition in the New York and New England region of the United States, and many streams have measurable NO3- concentrations throughout the growing season. Correlations between deposition and stream NO3- concentrations are not statistically significant. Stream NO3- concentrations are positively correlated with mean annual air temperature, suggesting that on a year-to-year basis rates of N mineralization and nitrification rather than deposition or vegetation uptake are the primary factors controlling nitrogen leaching from forests where nitrogen in excess of the biological demand is available. Results from nitrification and stable isotope studies are consistent with this conclusion. These data suggest that the release of NO3- to Catskill surface waters and the associated acidification would be enhanced in the short term through increases in mean annual air temperature.Abrupt increases and decreases in mean seasonal and annual stream NO3- concentrations during the period of record (1983-1995) at Biscuit Brook, a headwater stream in the Catskill Mountains of New York, have provided an opportunity to study the biogeochemical processes that control NO3- movement through forested watersheds. The Catskills receive the highest rate of NO3- deposition in the New York and New England region of the United States, and many streams have measurable NO3- concentrations throughout the growing season. Correlations between deposition and stream NO3- concentrations are not statistically significant. Stream NO3- concentrations are positively correlated with mean annual air temperature, suggesting that on a year-to-year basis rates of N mineralization and nitrification rather than deposition or vegetation uptake are the primary factors controlling nitrogen leaching from forests where nitrogen in excess of the biological demand is available. Results from nitrification and stable isotope studies are consistent with this conclusion. These data suggest that the release of NO3- to Catskill surface waters and the associated acidification would be enhanced in the short term through increases in mean annual air temperature.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Relation of climate change to the acidification of surface waters by nitrogen deposition
Series title:
Environmental Science and Technology
DOI:
10.1021/es9708631
Volume
32
Issue:
11
Year Published:
1998
Language:
English
Publisher:
ACS
Publisher location:
Washington, DC, United States
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Environmental Science and Technology
First page:
1642
Last page:
1647