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Sources and Flowpaths of Dissolved Organic Carbon during Storms in Two Forested Watersheds of the Precambrian Shield

M. J. Hinton, S. L. Schiff and M. C. English
Biogeochemistry
Vol. 41, No. 2 (May, 1998), pp. 175-197
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1469533
Page Count: 23
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Sources and Flowpaths of Dissolved Organic Carbon during Storms in Two Forested Watersheds of the Precambrian Shield
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Abstract

Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations and export were studied in two small catchments in central Ontario to examine DOC sources and to assess the hypothesis that organic matter adjacent to the stream is a significant contributor of DOC during storms. Different DOC dynamics and exports were observed according to the depth of the riparian water table. In Harp 4-21, riparian flowpaths were predominantly through A and upper B soil horizons and riparian soils contributed between 73 and 84% of the stream DOC export during an autumn storm. In Harp 3A, riparian flowpaths were predominantly through lower B horizons. Consequently, riparian soils were less important and hillslopes contributed more than 50% of the stream DOC export in subcatchments without wetlands during storms. Wetlands and adjacent soils contributed significantly to DOC export in Harp 3A; 8% of the total catchment area exported 32 to 46% of the storm runoff DOC. DOC export dynamics in wetlands and riparian soils were distinctly different. In wetlands, transport was affected by leaching and flushing of DOC at the wetland surface leading to lower DOC concentrations with successive storms. In riparian soils, groundwater flowpaths were more important and stronger positive relationships between discharge and DOC concentration were observed. Precipitation, throughfall and stemflow were minor sources of stream DOC during storms and contributed less than 20% of the total export.

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