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Atmospheric phosphorus deposition at a montane site: Size distribution, effects of wildfire, and ecological implications

W.C Vicars 1 J. O. Sickman 2 P.J. Ziemann 3 
LGGE - Laboratoire de glaciologie et géophysique de l'environnement, Department of Environmental Sciences [Riverside]
Abstract : The dry deposition of atmospheric particulate matter can be a significant source of phosphorus (P) to oligotrophic aquatic ecosystems, including high-elevation lakes. In this study, measurements of the mass concentration and size distribution of aerosol particles and associated particulate P are reported for the southern Sierra Nevada, California, for the period July-October, 2008. Coarse and fine particle samples were collected with Stacked Filter Units and analyzed for Total P (TP) and inorganic P (IP) using a digestion-extraction procedure, with organic P (OP) calculated by difference. Particle size-resolved mass and TP distributions were determined concurrently using a MOUDI cascade impactor. Aerosol mass concentrations were significantly elevated at the study site, primarily due to transport from offsite and emissions from local and regional wildfires. Atmospheric TP concentrations ranged from 11 to 75 ng m−3 (mean = 37 ± 16 ng m−3), and were typically dominated by IP. Phosphorus was concentrated in the coarse (>1 μm diameter) particle fraction and was particularly enriched in the 1.0-3.2 μm size range, which accounted for 30-60% of the atmospheric TP load. Wildfire emissions varied widely in P content, and may be related to fire intensity. The estimated dry depositional flux of TP for each daily sampling period ranged between 7 and 118 μg m−2 d−1, with a mean value of 40 ± 27 μg m−2 d−1. Relative rates of dry deposition of N and P in the Sierra Nevada are consistent with increasing incidence of N limitation of phytoplankton growth and previously observed long-term eutrophication of lakes.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - 11:30:00 AM
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W.C Vicars, J. O. Sickman, P.J. Ziemann. Atmospheric phosphorus deposition at a montane site: Size distribution, effects of wildfire, and ecological implications. Atmospheric environment, Elsevier, 2010, 44 (24), pp.2813-2821. ⟨10.1016/j.atmosenv.2010.04.055⟩. ⟨insu-00653780⟩



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