Temporal variability of soil organic carbon transport in the Enxoé agricultural watershed
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The temporal variability of particulate (POC) and dissolved (DOC) organic carbon concentrations was analyzed in the Enxoé temporary river, southern Portugal, between September, 2010 and August, 2013. The overall aim was to study the variability of those elements during storm events, and determine their origin and the main transfer mechanisms to the river. Twenty-one flood events were observed. An empirical model was used to describe changes in solute concentrations, and the magnitude and rotational patterns of the hysteretic loops during flood events. POC and DOC concentrations varied between 0.49–88.93 and 0.25–25.75 mg L−1, respectively. POC and DOC annual yields varied between 0.06–2.15 and 0.03–1.47 t km−2, respectively. Flood events had greater effect in POC than in DOC variability. POC had mostly a terrestrial origin, with exports being related to soil erosion and runoff. POC revealed a flushing behavior during the entire monitored period, and clockwise or anticlockwise trajectory loops whenever the predominant origin of the exports was in river bed deposits or arable lands, respectively. DOC had also a terrestrial origin, but it revealed a contrasting dilution behavior and, in general, anticlockwise hysteresis loops. DOC showed a delay in the arrival of solutes to the river, consistent with mass flow through subsurface flow. DOC exports were thus associated with soil weathering and crop mineralization. This work highlights the main processes involved in POC and DOC loads in a temporary river during flood events, with a precise quantification of those elements.
KeywordsDOC Hysteresis POC Mediterranean region Temporary rivers
This research was performed within the framework of the AGUAFLASH project (SOE1/P2/F146, EU Interreg SUDOE IVB program, http://www.aguaflash-sudoe.eu), and the EUTROPHOS project (PTDC/AGR-AAM/098100/2008, Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia).
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