A principal-components analysis was performed on the major solutes in wet deposition collected from 194 stations in the United States and its territories. Approximately 90% of the components derived could be interpreted as falling into one of three categories - acid, salt, or an agricultural/soil association. The total mass, or the mass of any one solute, was apportioned among these components by multiple linear regression techniques. The use of multisolute components for determining trends or spatial distribution represents a substantial improvement over single-solute analysis in that these components are more directly related to the sources of the deposition. The geographic patterns displayed by the components in this analysis indicate a far more important role for acid deposition in the Southeast and intermountain regions of the United States than would be indicated by maps of sulfate or nitrate deposition alone. In the Northeast and Midwest, the acid component is not declining at most stations, as would be expected from trends in sulfate deposition, but is holding constant or increasing. This is due, in part, to a decline in the agriculture/soil factor throughout this region, which would help to neutralize the acidity.
Additional publication details
Use of multivariate analysis for determining sources of solutes found in wet atmospheric deposition in the United States