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

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 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 SO42-, NO3-, NH4+ and basic cations have decreased in precipitation, resulting in increases in pH. A relatively uniform rate of decline in SO42- 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 SO42- was considerably less than the rate of decline anticipated from atmospheric deposition. This discrepancy may be due to release of previously deposited SO42- from soil, thereby delaying the recovery of lake water acidity. Despite the marked declines in concentrations of SO42- in Adirondack lakes, there has been no systematic increase in pH and ANC. The decline in SO42- 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

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution


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