Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 130, Issue 1–4, pp 75–86 | Cite as

Use of Stable Isotope Ratios for Evaluating Sulfur Sources and Losses at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest

  • M. J. Mitchell
  • B. Mayer
  • S. W. Bailey
  • J. W. Hornbeck
  • C. Alewell
  • C.T. Driscoll
  • G.E. Likens
Article

Abstract

Anthropogenic S emissions have been declining in eastern North America since the early 1970s. Declines in atmospheric S deposition have resulted in decreases in concentrations and fluxes of SO42− in precipitation and drainage waters. Recent S mass balance studies have shown that the outflow of SO42− in drainage waters greatly exceeds current S inputs from atmospheric deposition. Identifying the S source(s) which contribute(s) to the discrepancy in watershed S budgets is a major concern to scientists and policy makers because of the need to better understand the rate and spatial extent of recovery from acidic deposition. Results from S mass balances combined with model calculations and isotopic analyses of SO42− in precipitation and drainage waters at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (HBEF) suggest that this discrepancy cannot be explained by either underestimates of dry deposited S or desorption of previously stored SO42−. Isotopic results suggest that the excess S may be at least partially derived from net mineralization of organic S as well as the weathering of S-bearing minerals.

atmospheric deposition organic S S budgets stable isotopes watersheds weathering 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. J. Mitchell
    • 1
  • B. Mayer
    • 2
  • S. W. Bailey
    • 3
  • J. W. Hornbeck
    • 3
  • C. Alewell
    • 4
  • C.T. Driscoll
    • 5
  • G.E. Likens
    • 6
  1. 1.SUNY-ESFSyracuseU.S.A.
  2. 2.University of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  3. 3.USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Research StationDurhamU.S.A
  4. 4.BITÖKUniversität BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  5. 5.Syracuse UniversitySyracuseU.S.A
  6. 6.Institute of Ecosystem StudiesMillbrookU.S.A

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