A Comparison of Wet Deposition Collectors at a Coastal Rural Site
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Atmospheric deposition occurs in a variety of forms and is crucial for the evaluation of nutrient budgets, critical loads, and pollution inputs across space and time. Atmospheric wet deposition is typically quantified by analyzing the chemistry of precipitation that is collected in some type of container with a lid that opens in response to precipitation. However, collectors can vary in shape as well as in the sensor that signals when precipitation is occurring. Here, we compare the collectors made by Aerochem Metrics and N-CON Systems Company Inc. The former has been widely used for several decades, while the latter is relatively new and has been used in a variety of configurations depending on the solute of interest. Event-based samples were collected from August 2007 to October 2008 and analyzed for nitrate, ammonium, sulfate, chloride, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC). A variety of approaches were used to assess the comparability of the two collectors. Regressions of concentration versus concentration from the two collectors were strong, and the slope did not differ from 1 for nitrate, ammonium, or sulfate. The median concentrations of nitrate, ammonium, and sulfate were, however, significantly higher in the N-CON collector, while there were no overall differences between collectors for chloride or DOC. Although we have observed some statistically significant differences between solute concentrations of samples collected from the two collectors, our mixed results suggest that these differences are relatively small.
KeywordsPrecipitation chemistry Wet deposition Acidic deposition Collector comparison Dissolved organic carbon deposition
This research was funded in part by the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station. Additional funds were provided by NOAA AIRMAP and the University of New Hampshire Water Quality Analysis Laboratory. We thank Jody Potter for laboratory assistance.
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