Net Subterranean Estuarine Export Fluxes of Dissolved Inorganic C, N, P, Si, and Total Alkalinity into the Jiulong River Estuary, China
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
To evaluate geochemical impacts of the subterranean estuary (STE) on the Jiulong River estuary, China, we estimated seasonal fluxes of subterranean water discharge into the estuary based on the mass balance of radium isotopes and net subterranean export fluxes of dissolved inorganic C (DIC), N (DIN), Si (DSi), soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP), and total alkalinity (TA). Based on 226Ra data, the subterranean discharge (in 107 m3 d-1) was estimated to be 0.24~0.51 in the spring, 0.56~1.16 in the summer, 0.38~0.79 in the fall, and 0.22~0.45 in the winter. This was equivalent to 6-16% of the concomitant river discharge. The net spatially integrated material fluxes from the STE into the estuary were equivalent up to 51-89% of the concomitant riverine fluxes for DIC and TA, around 10-25% for DSi and DIN, and negligible for SRP. Paradoxically, the mixing lines along the salinity gradient revealed no apparent additions of these species. These additions are not revealed because the STE is a relatively small spatially-averaged source that spreads throughout the estuary in contrast to the major point sources of the river and the ocean for the estuary. Thus, despite apparent conservative mixing of DIC, DIN, and DSi, subterranean exports of these species into estuaries must be taken into account in evaluating geochemical impacts of estuarine exports on shelf waters.