Trends in Surface Water Chemistry in Acidified Areas in Europe and North America from 1990 to 2008
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- Garmo, Ø.A., Skjelkvåle, B.L., de Wit, H.A. et al. Water Air Soil Pollut (2014) 225: 1880. doi:10.1007/s11270-014-1880-6
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Acidification of lakes and rivers is still an environmental concern despite reduced emissions of acidifying compounds. We analysed trends in surface water chemistry of 173 acid-sensitive sites from 12 regions in Europe and North America. In 11 of 12 regions, non-marine sulphate (SO4*) declined significantly between 1990 and 2008 (−15 to −59 %). In contrast, regional and temporal trends in nitrate were smaller and less uniform. In 11 of 12 regions, chemical recovery was demonstrated in the form of positive trends in pH and/or alkalinity and/or acid neutralising capacity (ANC). The positive trends in these indicators of chemical recovery were regionally and temporally less distinct than the decline in SO4* and tended to flatten after 1999. From an ecological perspective, the chemical quality of surface waters in acid-sensitive areas in these regions has clearly improved as a consequence of emission abatement strategies, paving the way for some biological recovery.