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Concentrations and fluxes of suspended particulate matter and associated contaminants in the Rhône River from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea

Abstract : The Rhône River is among the main rivers of western Europe and the biggest by freshwater discharge and sediment delivery to the Mediterranean Sea. Its catchment is characterized by distinct hydrological regimes that may produce annual sediment deliveries ranging from 1.4 to 18.0 Mt yr−1. Its course meets numerous dams, hydro and nuclear power plants as well as agricultural, urban and industrial areas. Moreover, with the climatic crisis we are currently facing, it is proven that the occurrence and the intensity of extreme events (floods or droughts) will increase. Therefore, it is crucial to monitor the concentrations and fluxes of suspended particulate matter (SPM) and associated contaminants to study the current trends and their evolution. In the Rhône River (from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea), a monitoring network of 15 stations (3 on the Rhône River and 12 on tributaries) has been set up in the past decade by the Rhône Sediment Observatory (OSR) to investigate the concentrations and the fluxes of SPM and associated contaminants as well as their sources. The main purpose of the OSR is to assess the long-term trend of the main contaminant concentrations and fluxes, and to understand their behavior during extreme events, such as floods or dam flushing operations. The dataset presented in this paper contains the concentrations and fluxes of SPM as well as the concentrations and fluxes of several particle-bound contaminants of concern, e.g., polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), trace metal elements (TME) and radionuclides, the particle size distribution and the particulate organic carbon of SPM. Sediment traps or continuous flow centrifuges were used to collect sufficient amount of SPM in order to conduct the measurements, and data completion was applied to reconstruct missing values. This observatory is on-going since 2011 and the database is regularly updated. All the data are made publicly available in French and English through the BDOH OSR database at https://doi.org/10.15454/RJCQZ7 (Lepage et al., 2021).
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Hugo Lepage, Alexandra Gruat, Fabien Thollet, Jérôme Le Coz, Marina Coquery, et al.. Concentrations and fluxes of suspended particulate matter and associated contaminants in the Rhône River from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea. Earth System Science Data, Copernicus Publications, 2022, 14, pp.2369-2384. ⟨10.5194/essd-14-2369-2022⟩. ⟨insu-03690609⟩

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