Long-term trends in the chemistry of precipitation and lake water in the Adirondack Region of New York, USA

Charles T Driscoll, K. M. Poster, W. Kretser, D. J. Raynal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

82 Scopus citations


Long-term changes in the chemistry of precipitation (1978-94) and 16 lakes (1982-94) were investigated in the Adirondack region of New York, USA. Time-series analysis showed that concentrations of SO4 2-, NO3 -, NH4 + and basic cations have decreased in precipitation, resulting in increases in pH. A relatively uniform rate of decline in SO4 2- concentrations in lakes across the region (1.81±0.35 μeq L-1 yr-1) suggests that this change was due to decreases in atmospheric deposition. The decrease in lake SO4 2- was considerably less than the rate of decline anticipated from atmospheric deposition. This discrepancy may be due to release of previously deposited SO4 2- from soil, thereby delaying the recovery of lake water acidity. Despite the marked declines in concentrations of SO4 2- in Adirondack lakes, there has been no systematic increase in pH and ANC. The decline in SO4 2- has corresponded with a near stoichiometric decrease in concentrations of basic cations in low ANC lakes. A pattern of increasing NO3 - concentrations that was evident in lakes across the region during the 1980's has been followed by a period of lower concentrations. Currently there are no significant trends in NO3 - concentrations in Adirondack lakes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-588
Number of pages6
JournalWater, Air, & Soil Pollution
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1995


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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