Long-term patterns of dissolved organic carbon in lakes across eastern Canada: Evidence of a pronounced climate effect

Zhang, Jan, Jeff Hudson, Richard Neal, Jeff Sereda, Thomas Clair, Michael Turner, Dean Jeffries, Peter Dillon, Lewis Molot, Keith Somers, Ray Hesslein

Limnol. Oceanogr., 55(1), 2010, 30-42 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2010.55.1.0030

ABSTRACT: We analyzed the 21-yr dynamics of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in 55 lakes during ice-free periods in five regions across eastern Canada in relation to total solar radiation (TSR), precipitation, air temperature, sulfate deposition (SO4), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), North Atlantic Oscillation, and Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). A synchronous pattern in DOC was found among lakes within each region; however, a synchronous pattern in DOC was not found among regions, except for Kejimkujik and Yarmouth. Long-term trends of increasing or decreasing DOC concentration were not evident except at the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA), where an increase in DOC correlated with a decrease in summer TSR and an increase in summer precipitation. Annual mean temperature increased at the Nova Scotia and Turkey Lakes Watershed regions (TLW) over the study period, but there was no corresponding change in DOC. TSR and precipitation were important explanatory variables across all regions, except for the TLW. Summer TSR, or annual TSR, had a negative relationship, while summer precipitation had a positive relationship with the temporal DOC pattern in all regions except TLW. TSR and precipitation explained 78%, 49%, and 84% of the variation in the long-term DOC patterns at Dorset, ELA, and Nova Scotia (NS) regions, respectively. In contrast, the long-term pattern in DOC at TLW was only weakly related to SOI and PDO.

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