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The Influence of Catchment Characteristics on the Water Chemistry of Mountain Lakes
Christian Kamenik, Roland Schmidt, Georg Kum and Roland Psenner
Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research
Vol. 33, No. 4, Symposium: High-Mountain Lakes and Streams: Indicators of a Changing World (Nov., 2001), pp. 404-409
Published by: INSTAAR, University of Colorado
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1552549
Page Count: 6
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Forty-four lakes in the Austrian Alps were studied to examine the influence of catchment characteristics on water chemistry. The lakes are located along an altitudinal gradient (1502-2309 m a.s.l.) in a small study area (35.5 km * 15.5 km) without glaciers. Longitude and latitude accounted for 21.4% of the variation in water chemistry. Bedrock mineralogy explained 14.5% of the variation. Vegetation accounted for 13.2% and slope for 5.5% of the variation in water chemistry. No correlations were found between exposure and water chemistry. Water chemistry appeared to be mainly determined by (1) chemical weathering of carbonate minerals and (2) in-lake productivity. Carbonate minerals were assumed to be present in all watersheds. Trees and shrubs enhanced chemical weathering. Concentrations of chemical parameters indicating physical weathering were high in lakes with large, steep catchments. Steep watersheds were correlated with enhanced nitrogen concentrations in the lakes. In-lake productivity obscured relationships between chemical parameters and catchment characteristics. Nonetheless, catchment characteristics explained 45% of the variation in water chemistry, stressing their importance for water chemistry in mountain lakes.
Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research © 2001 Regents of the University of Colorado, a body corporate, contracting on behalf of the University of Colorado at Boulder for the benefit of INSTAAR