Atmospheric Deposition of Organic Carbon in Pennsylvania as Affected by Climatic Factors

Friday, 19 December 2014
Lidiia Iavorivska, Elizabeth W Boyer, Jeff Grimm and Jose D Fuentes, Pennsylvania State University Main Campus, University Park, PA, United States
Organic matter which is usually expressed through measurements of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) is ubiquitous in atmospheric water. It plays an important role in cloud formation processes, and contributes to organic acidity of precipitation. Rain and snow deposited to the landscape is a source of nutrient enrichment to ecosystems and water bodies, and is especially important as an input of carbon in coastal regions. Since DOC is highly chemically reactive and bioavailable it influences rates of primary and secondary productivity in aquatic ecosystems. Despite the significance of DOC to many ecosystem processes, knowledge about its contributions to landscapes in precipitation remains limited. Here, we quantified the removal of DOC from the atmosphere via precipitation over space and time in order to assess the magnitude of wet deposition as a link between terrestrial and aquatic components of the carbon cycle. Further, we consider the predictability of organic matter in precipitation as a function of hydro-chemical and climatic variables. We measured DOC concentration and composition in storm events both sequentially (hourly during events) and seasonally (weekly over the year). Data on the chemical composition of precipitation, along with meteorological back-trajectory analyses help clarify how an interplay between emission sources, atmospheric transport and climatic conditions determine the abundance of rainwater DOC across Pennsylvania.