Links between N deposition and nitrate export from a high-elevation watershed in the Colorado Front Range

Environmental Science & Technology
By: , and 

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Abstract

Long-term patterns of stream nitrate export and atmospheric N deposition were evaluated over three decades in Loch Vale, a high-elevation watershed in the Colorado Front Range. Stream nitrate concentrations increased in the early 1990s, peaked in the mid-2000s, and have since declined by over 40%, coincident with trends in nitrogen oxide emissions over the past decade. Similarities in the timing and magnitude of N deposition provide evidence that stream chemistry is responding to changes in atmospheric deposition. The response to deposition was complicated by a drought in the early 2000s that enhanced N export for several years. Other possible explanations, including forest disturbance, snow depth, or permafrost melting, could not explain patterns in N export. Our results show that stream chemistry responds rapidly to changes in N deposition in high-elevation watersheds, similar to the response observed to changes in sulfur deposition.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Links between N deposition and nitrate export from a high-elevation watershed in the Colorado Front Range
Series title Environmental Science & Technology
DOI 10.1021/es502461k
Volume 48
Issue 24
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher American Chemical Society
Contributing office(s) Colorado Water Science Center
Description 8 p.
First page 14258
Last page 14265
Country United States
State Colorado
Other Geospatial Colorado Front Range
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N