Simple models to estimate historical and recent changes of total organic carbon concentrations in lakes

Valinia, Salar; Futter, Martyn N.; Cosby, Bernard J.; Rosén, Peter; Fölster, Jens. 2015 Simple models to estimate historical and recent changes of total organic carbon concentrations in lakes. Environmental Science & Technology, 49 (1). 386-394.

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Quantifying human impacts on the natural environment requires credible reconstructions of reference conditions. Anthropogenic acidification of surface waters is strongly influenced by total organic carbon (TOC) concentrations. Because both the degree of acidification and recovery are dependent on historical TOC concentrations, simple models to estimate changes in surface water TOC between reference conditions (1860) and the present day (2012) are needed. We used visible near infrared spectroscopy (VNIRS) of lake sediments to reconstruct reference condition TOC and long-term monitoring data to predict recent changes. Two empirical models were developed to predict: (i) historical TOC trends between reference conditions (1860) and peak acidification (1980) and (ii) trends in TOC between 1988 and 2012. The models were statistically robust with adj. R2 of (i) 0.85 and (ii) 0.71, respectively. Models were driven by lake and catchment area, wetlands, historical sulfur deposition and water chemistry. Present day TOC concentrations are similar to VNIRS-reconstructed and modeled reference condition TOC in Swedish lakes. The results are valuable for understanding drivers of TOC changes in lakes and for more credible assessments of reference conditions needed for water management in Europe and elsewhere.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Emmett
ISSN: 0013-936X
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 22 Mar 2016 12:42 +0 (UTC)

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