AMBIO

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 170–179 | Cite as

Changes in the Chemistry of Small Irish lakes

Report

Abstract

A re-survey of acid-sensitive lakes in Ireland (initial survey 1997) was carried out during spring 2007 (n = 60). Since 1997, atmospheric emissions of sulfur dioxide and deposition of non-marine sulfate (SO4 2−) in Ireland have decreased by ~63 and 36%, respectively. Comparison of water chemistry between surveys showed significant decreases in the concentration of SO4 2−, non-marine SO4 2−, and non-marine base cations. In concert, alkalinity increased significantly; however, no change was observed in surface water pH and total aluminum. High inter-annual variability in sea salt inputs and increasing (albeit non-significant) dissolved organic carbon may have influenced the response of pH and total aluminum (as ~70% is organic aluminum). Despite their location on the western periphery of Europe, and dominant influence from Atlantic air masses, the repeat survey suggests that the chemistry of small Irish lakes has shown a significant response to reductions in air pollution driven primarily by the implementation of the Gothenburg Protocol under the UNECE Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution.

Keywords

Lake chemistry Sulfate Emissions Sea salts Dissolved organic carbon 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Financial support for this research was provided by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency under the Climate Change Research Programme (CCRP) 2007–2013 and the Canada Research Chair and NSERC discovery grant programs. We gratefully thank E. P. Farrell and T. Cummins for providing laboratory facilities at University College Dublin, and T. Clair for assistance with lake chemistry quality control. Finally, this work would not have been possible without the extraordinary efforts of the field crew: Jim Johnson, Brent Parsons, Tim Seabert, Koji Tominaga, Colin Whitfield and Antoni Zbieranowski.

References

  1. Aherne, J., and C.J. Curtis. 2003. Critical loads of acidity for Irish lakes. Aquatic Sciences 65: 21–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aherne, J., and E.P. Farrell. 2002. Deposition of sulfur, nitrogen and acidity in precipitation over Ireland: Chemistry, spatial distribution and long-term trends. Atmospheric Environment 36: 1379–1389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aherne, J., M. Kelly-Quinn, and E.P. Farrell. 2002. A survey of lakes in the Republic of Ireland: Hydrochemical characteristics and acid sensitivity. Ambio 31(6): 452–459.Google Scholar
  4. Almer, B., W. Dickson, C. Ekström, and E. Hornström. 1978. Sulphur pollution and the aquatic ecosystem. In Sulfur in the environment, ed. J.O. Nriagu, 271–311. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  5. Bailey, M.D., J.J. Bowman, C. O’Connell, and P.J. Flanagan. 1986. Air quality in Ireland. Dublin: An Foras Forbartha.Google Scholar
  6. Bashir, W., F. McGovern, M. Ryan, and L. Burke. 2008. Chemical trends in background air quality and the ionic composition of precipitation for the period 1980–2004 from samples collected at Valentia Observatory, CoKerry, Ireland. Journal of Environmental Monitoring 10: 730–738.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bowman, J.J. 1991. Acid sensitive waters in Ireland: The impact of a major new sulfur emission on sensitive surface waters in an unacidified region. Dublin: Environmental Research Unit.Google Scholar
  8. Bowman, J.J., and M. McGettigan. 1994. Atmospheric deposition in acid sensitive areas of Ireland: the influence of wind direction and a new coal burning electricity generation station on precipitation quality. Water, Air, and Soil pollution 75: 159–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bull, K., M. Johannson, and M. Kryzanowski. 2008. Impacts of the convention on long-range transboundary air pollution on air quality in Europe. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health: Part A 71(1): 51–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Butler, C.J., A. García-Suárez, and E. Pallé. 2007. Trends in cycles in long Irish Meteorological Series. Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 107B(3): 157–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Driscoll, C.T., K.M. Driscoll, K.M. Roy, and M.J. Mitchels. 2003. Chemical response of lakes in the Adirondack region of New York to declines in acidic deposition. Environmental Science and Technology 37: 2036–2042.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. EMEP. 1996. Manual for sampling and chemical analysis. http://www.tarantula.nilu.no/projects/ccc/qa.
  13. European Environmental Agency. 2009. European community emission inventory report 1990–2007 under the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP). EEA Technical Report No 8/2009, Copenhagen. doi: 10.2800/12414.
  14. Evans, C.D., D.T. Monteith, and D.M. Cooper. 2005. Long-term increases in surface water dissolved organic carbon: observations, possible causes and environmental impacts. Environmental Pollution 137: 55–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Evans, C.D., D.T. Monteith, B. Reynolds, and J.M. Clark. 2008. Buffering of recovery from acidification by organic acids. Science of the Total Environment 404: 316–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Flower, R.J., B. Rippey, N.L. Rose, P. Appleby, and R.W. Battarbee. 1994. Paleolimnological evidence for the acidification and contamination of lakes by atmospheric pollution in western Ireland. Journal of Ecology 82(3): 581–596.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fowler, D., R. Smith, J. Muller, J.N. Cape, M. Sutton, J.W. Erisman, and H. Fagerli. 2007. Long term trends in sulfur and nitrogen deposition in Europe and the cause of non-linearities. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution: Focus 7: 41–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gorham, E. 1985. The chemistry of bog waters. In Chemical processes in lakes, ed. W. Stumm, 330–363. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  19. Harriman, R., H. Anderson, and J.D. Miller. 1995. The role of sea-salts in enhancing and mitigating surface water acidity. Water, Air, and Soil pollution 85: 553–558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Henriksen, A., M. Posch, H. Hultberg, and L. Lien. 1995. Critical loads of acidity for surface waters—can the ANClimit be considered variable? Water, Air, and Soil pollution 85(4): 2419–2424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hindar, A., A. Henriksen, K. Torseth, and A. Semb. 1994. Acid water and fish death. Nature 372: 327–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Huntrieser, H., J. Heland, H. Schlager, C. Forster, A. Stohl, H. Aufmhoff, F. Arnold, H.E. Scheel, et al. 2005. Intercontinental air pollution transport from North America to Europe: Experimental evidence from airborne measurements and surface observations. Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres 110: 1–22.Google Scholar
  23. Jeffries, D.S., T.A. Clair, S. Couture, P. Dillon, J. Dupont, B. Keller, D. McNicol, M. Turner, et al. 2003. Assessing the recovery of lakes in southeastern Canada from the effects of acidic deposition. Ambio 32(3): 176–182.Google Scholar
  24. Kähkonen, A.M. 1996. Soil geochemistry in relation to water chemistry and sensitivity to acid deposition in Finnish Lapland. Water, Air, and Soil pollution 87: 311–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kernan, M., R.W. Batterbee, C.J. Curtis, D.T. Monteith, and E.M. Shilland. 2010. Recovery of lakes and streams in the UK from the effects of acid rain: UK acid waters monitoring network 20 year interpretive report, 465. London: University College London.Google Scholar
  26. Kopáček, J., D. Hardekopf, V. Majer, P. Psenakova, P. Stuchlik, and J. Vesely. 2004. Response of alpine lakes and soils to changes in acid deposition: the MAGIC model applied to the Tatra Mountain region, Slovakia-Poland. Journal of Limnology 63: 143–156.Google Scholar
  27. Kopáček, J., E. Stuchlik, and D. Hardekopf. 2006. Chemical composition of the Tatra Mountain lakes: Recovery from acidification. Biologia Bratislava 61: 21–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Moldan, F., J. Hruška, C. Evans, and M. Hauhs. 2011. Experimental simulation of the effects of extreme climatic events on major ions, acidity and dissolved organic carbon leaching from a forested catchment, Gårdsjön, Sweden. Biogeochemistry. doi: 10.1007/s10533-010-9567-6
  29. Möller, D. 1990. The Na/Cl ratio in rainwater and the seasalt chloride cycle. Tellus 42B: 254–262.Google Scholar
  30. O’Brien, P.C., and T.R. Fleming. 1987. A paired Prentice–Wilcoxon test for censored paired data. Biometrics 43: 169–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pilgrim, W., T.A. Clair, J. Choate, and R. Hughes. 2003. Changes in acid precipitation related water chemistry of lakes from southwestern New Brunswick, Canada, 1986–2001. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 88: 39–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Reuss, J.O., and D.W. Johnson. 1986. Acid deposition and the acidification of soils and waters. New York: Springer-Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Salmi, T., A. Määttä, P. Anttila, T. Ruoho-Airola, and T. Amnell. 2002. Detecting trends of annual values of atmospheric pollutants by the Mann-Kendall test and Sen’s slope estimates—the Excel template application MAKESENS. Publications on Air Quality No. 31. Helsinki: Finnish Meteorological Institute.Google Scholar
  34. Skjelkvåle, B.L., R. Wright, and A. Henriksen. 1998. Norwegian lakes show widespread recovery from acidification; Results from national surveys of lakewater chemistry 1986–1997. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 2(4): 555–562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Skjelkvåle, B.L., J. Mannio, A. Wilander, and T. Anderson. 2001. Recovery from acidification of lakes in Finland, Norway, and Sweden 1990–1999. Hydrology and Earth System Science 5(3): 327–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Skjelkvåle, B.L., C.D. Evans, T. Larsson, A. Hindar, and G.G. Raddum. 2003. Recovery from acidification in European surface waters: A view to the future. Ambio 32(3): 170–175.Google Scholar
  37. Skjelkvåle, B.L., J. Stoddard, D.S. Jeffries, K. Torseth, T. Hogasen, J.J. Bowman, J. Mannio, D.T. Monteith, et al. 2005. Regional scale evidence for improvements in surface water chemistry 1991–2001. Environmental Pollution 137: 165–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Stoddard, J., D.S. Jeffries, A. Lükewille, T.A. Clair, P.J. Dillon, C.T. Driscoll, M. Forsius, M. Johannesson, et al. 1999. Regional trends in aquatic recovery from acidification in North America and Europe. Nature 401: 575–578.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Stuchlik, E., J. Kopáček, J. Fott, and Z. Horicka. 2006. Chemical composition of the Tatra Mountain lakes: Response to acidification. Biologia Bratislava 61: 11–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sullivan, T.J., M.C. Saunders, K.A. Tonnesson, B.L. Nash, and B.J. Miller. 2005. Application of a regionalized knowledge-based model for classifying the impacts of nitrogen, sulfur, and organic acids on lakewater chemistry. Knowledge-Based Systems 18: 65–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sweeney, J., T. Brereton, C. Byrne, R. Charlton, C. Emblow, C. Fealy, N. Holden, M. Jones, et al. 2003. Climate change: Scenarios and impacts. Final report. Environmental RTDI Programme 2000–2006. Environmental Protection Agency, Ireland.Google Scholar
  42. UNECE. 1999. The 1999 protocol to abate acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone. Document ECE/EB.AIR/67. New York, Geneva: United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental and Resource StudiesTrent UniversityPeterboroughCanada

Personalised recommendations