Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hurricane Irene Polluted Catskills Watershed

27.09.2012
The water quality of lakes and coastal systems will be altered if hurricanes intensify in a warming world, according to a Yale study in Geophysical Research Letters.
Bryan Yoon, the study’s co-author and a doctoral student at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, found that last summer during Hurricane Irene—the worst storm in the New York area in 200 years—record amounts of dissolved organic matter darkened Catskill waters and affected the Ashokan Reservoir that supplies New York City with drinking water.

“This is the biggest rain event ever sampled for the region,” said Yoon, who conducted the study with Pete Raymond, professor of ecosystem ecology at Yale.

As a primary source of drinking water for New York City, the Catskill Mountains is designated as forest preserve, and roughly 62 percent of the watershed studied is protected by New York State. Over a two-day period in late August 2011, Irene dropped over 11 inches of rain—17 percent of the average annual rainfall—on Esopus Creek that feeds the Ashokan.

Yoon found that the volume of water discharged by the creek increased 330-fold, and the creek exported an unprecedented amount of dissolved organic matter to the Ashokan, equivalent to 43 percent of its average annual export. Yoon likened the increase in dissolved organic matter to a person being fed 40 percent of his annual food in a few days.

Although not discussed as often as other water quality topics such as turbidity, dissolved organic matter plays a critical role in the aquatic environment and for the provision of clean drinking water. In moderate quantities, dissolved organic matter also provides food and nutrients for microbial communities.

In excessive amounts, however, dissolved organic matter could lead to numerous environmental problems, Yoon’s study found. Dissolved organic matter binds with metal pollutants and transports them; interferes with ultraviolet processes that reduce pathogens in water; affects aquatic metabolism; and leads to the formation of carcinogenic disinfection byproducts, such as trihalomethanes during chlorination.

“All of those problems become more serious as larger quantities of dissolved organic matter are transported to lakes and coastal systems,” he said. “Hurricane Irene was a prime example that there is no limit to the amount of dissolved organic matter that can be exported by extreme rain events. Surprisingly, concentrations of dissolved organic matter didn’t get diluted.”

Raymond said that frequent hurricanes will flush more organic matter out of the ground and into lakes, reservoirs and coastal waters, potentially altering their biogeochemical cycles.

The study, “Dissolved Organic Matter Export from a Forested Watershed during Hurricane Irene,” was funded by the Hixon Center for Urban Ecology at F&ES and can be viewed at www.agu.org/journals/gl/gl1218/2012GL052785/.

David DeFusco | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.yale.edu

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Colorado River's connection with the ocean was a punctuated affair
16.11.2017 | University of Oregon

nachricht Researchers create largest, longest multiphysics earthquake simulation to date
14.11.2017 | Gauss Centre for Supercomputing

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>