, Volume 70, Issue 3, pp 369–402

Trends in Dissolved Organic Carbon in UK Rivers and Lakes


    • Department of Earth SciencesScience Laboratories
  • Ron Harriman
    • The Freshwater LaboratoryFaskally
  • Chris D. Evans
    • Centre for Ecology and HydrologyUniversity of Wales
  • Carol D. Watts
    • Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
  • John Adamson
    • Environmental Change Network, Centre for Ecology and HydrologyMerlewood
  • Colin Neal
    • Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
  • Ed Tipping
    • Centre for Ecology and HydrologyFerry House
  • Tim Burt
    • Department of GeographyScience Laboratories
  • Ian Grieve
    • Department of Environmental ScienceUniversity of Stirling
  • Don Monteith
    • Environmental Change Research CentreUniversity College London
  • Pam S. Naden
    • Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
  • Tom Nisbet
    • Forest ResearchAlice Holt lodge
  • Brian Reynolds
    • Centre for Ecology and HydrologyUniversity of Wales
  • Paul Stevens
    • Centre for Ecology and HydrologyUniversity of Wales

DOI: 10.1007/s10533-004-8131-7

Cite this article as:
Worrall, F., Harriman, R., Evans, C.D. et al. Biogeochemistry (2004) 70: 369. doi:10.1007/s10533-004-8131-7


Several studies have highlighted an increase in DOC concentration in streams and lakes of UK upland catchments though the causal mechanisms controlling the increase have yet to be fully explained. This study, compiles a comprehensive data set of DOC concentration records for UK catchments to evaluate trends and test whether observed increases are ubiquitous over time and space. The study analysed monthly DOC time series from 198 sites, including 29 lakes, 8 water supply reservoirs and 161 rivers. The records vary in length from 8 to 42 years going back as far as 1961. Of the 198 sites, 153 (77%) show an upward trend in DOC concentration significant at the 95% level, the remaining 45 (23%) show no significant trend and no sites show a significant decrease in DOC concentration. The average annual increase in DOC concentration was 0.17 mg C/l/year. The dataset shows: (i) a spatial consistent upward trend in the DOC concentration independent of regional effects of rainfall, acid and nitrogen deposition, and local effects of land-use change; (ii) a temporally consistent increase in DOC concentration for period back as far as the 1960s; (iii) the increase in DOC concentration means an estimated DOC flux from the UK as 0.86 Mt C for the year 2002 and is increasing at 0.02 Mt C/year. Possible reasons for the increasing DOC concentration are discussed.


Climate changeDOCLakesRiversTrends

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004