Seasonal Changes of DOC Composition of Rivers in Temperate Monsoon Climates

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Yera Shin1, Eun-Ju Lee1, Jin Hur2 and Neung-Hwan Oh1, (1)Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea, (2)Sejong University, Seoul, South Korea
The spatial and seasonal dynamics of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) composition and biodegradability were investigated for the five largest rivers in the Republic of Korea during the years 2012 – 2013 using dark incubation experiments and spectroscopic measurements, including parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC). The DOC concentrations of the rivers in relatively steep and forest-dominated basins were <~2 mg L-1, and remained relatively constant over the seasons. In contrast, those of the rivers influenced by urban and agricultural activities rose up to 5.4 mg L-1, which was decreased to ~2 mg L-1 during the summer monsoon period, indicating that increased precipitation had the effect of dilution. Among the fluorescence components, terrestrial humic-like components were dominant in all the rivers except for one, where tyrosine- or tryptophan-like compounds were the major component. However, terrestrial humic-like components became dominant in all five of the rivers after high precipitation which occurred during the monsoon season, during which ~76% of the annual precipitation was received. Considering that 64% of South Korea is forested, our results suggest that the forests could be a large source of riverine DOC, elevating the DOC loads during monsoon rainfall. Although more DOC could be degraded when DOC input increased, regardless of its sources, the percent biodegradability was reduced with increased proportions of terrestrially derived and aromatic compounds. These results suggest that the relatively stable and terrestrial humic-like compounds released during the monsoon rainfall could reduce the potential of microbial respiration of riverine DOC and evasion of river CO2 to the atmosphere, despite of the increase in the DOC load.