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External quality assurance project report for the National Atmospheric Deposition Program’s National Trends Network and Mercury Deposition Network, 2013–14

Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5069

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https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20165069

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Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey Branch of Quality Systems operated five distinct programs to provide external quality assurance monitoring for the National Atmospheric Deposition Program’s (NADP) National Trends Network and Mercury Deposition Network during 2013–14. The National Trends Network programs include (1) a field audit program to evaluate sample contamination and stability, (2) an interlaboratory comparison program to evaluate analytical laboratory performance, and (3) a colocated sampler program to evaluate bias from precipitation sampler upgrades. The Mercury Deposition Network programs include the (4) system blank program and (5) an interlaboratory comparison program. The results indicate that NADP data continue to be of sufficient quality for the analysis of spatial distributions and time trends for chemical constituents in wet deposition.

The field audit program results indicate that sample contamination levels for calcium, nitrate, and sulfate continued to increase during the study period while sodium and chloride contamination decreased and magnesium, potassium, ammonium, and hydrogen-ion contamination have remained relatively constant. Analyte losses due to potential sample instability were negligible. The NADP Central Analytical Laboratory produced interlaboratory comparison results with low bias and variability compared to other domestic and international laboratories that support atmospheric deposition monitoring.

Colocated sampler program results from dissimilar colocated collectors suggest that the retrofit of the National Trends Network with N-CON Systems precipitation collectors could cause shifts in NADP annual deposition (concentration multiplied by depth) values from +6.2 to +51 percent for ammonium, from +8.1 to +61 percent for nitrate, from 3.8 to 71 percent for sulfate, from –24 to +15 percent for hydrogenion deposition, and larger shifts (from –14 to +102 percent) for calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and chloride. The N-CON Systems collector typically catches more precipitation than the NADP-approved Aerochem Metrics Model 301 collector, but it typically caught slightly less precipitation than the Aerochem Metrics collector at a wind-swept, high-altitude site during water year 2013.

Paired, identical OTT Pluvio-2 and ETI Noah IV rain gages were operated at the same sites. Results of the colocated rain gages indicate from 0 to 3.7 percent median absolute percent difference for weekly precipitation-depth measurements and from 0.05 to 5.6 absolute percent difference for annual total precipitation depth.

The Mercury Deposition Network programs include the system blank program and an interlaboratory comparison program. System blank results indicated that maximum total mercury contamination concentrations in samples were less than the third percentile of all Mercury Deposition Network sample concentrations. The Mercury Analytical Laboratory produced chemical concentration results with low bias and variability compared with other domestic and international laboratories that support atmospheric-deposition monitoring.

Suggested Citation

Wetherbee, G.A., and Martin, RoseAnn, 2016, External quality assurance project report for the National Atmospheric Deposition Program’s National Trends Network and Mercury Deposition Network, 2013–14: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5069, 22 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20165069.

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • National Trends Network Quality Assurance Programs
  • Mercury Deposition Network Quality Assurance Programs
  • Summary
  • References Cited

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
External quality assurance project report for the National Atmospheric Deposition Program’s National Trends Network and Mercury Deposition Network, 2013–14
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2016-5069
DOI:
10.3133/sir20165069
Year Published:
2016
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Branch of Quality Systems
Description:
vi, 22 p.
Online Only (Y/N):
Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
N