Use of stable isotopes ratios for evaluating sulfur sources and losses at the hubbard brook experimental forest

M. J. Mitchell, B. Mayer, S. W. Bailey, J. W. Hornbeck, C. Alewell, C. T. Driscoll, G. E. Likens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

Anthropogenic S emissions have been declining in eastern North America since the early 1970s. Declines in atmospheric S deposition have resulted in decreases in concentrations and fluxes of SO2-4 in precipitation and drainage waters. Recent S mass balance studies have shown that the outflow of SO2-4 in drainage waters greatly exceeds current S inputs from atmospheric deposition. Identifying the S source(s) which contribute(s) to the discrepancy in watershed S budgets is a major concern to scientists and policy makers because of the need to better understand the rate and spatial extent of recovery from acidic deposition. Results from S mass balances combined with model calculations and isotopic analyses of SO2-4 in precipitation and drainage waters at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (HBEF) suggest that this discrepancy cannot be explained by either underestimates of dry deposited S or desorption of previously stored SO2-4. Isotopic results suggest that the excess S may be at least partially derived from net mineralization of organic S as well as the weathering of S-bearing minerals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-86
Number of pages12
JournalWater, Air, and Soil Pollution
Volume130
Issue number1-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 22 2001

Keywords

  • Atmospheric deposition
  • Organic S
  • S budgets
  • Stable isotopes
  • Watersheds
  • Weathering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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