The concentrations and quality of dissolved organic matter (DOM) and their sources were studied for multiple storm events collected over a three-year period (2008–10) in a forested headwater (12 ha) catchment in the mid-Atlantic Piedmont region of the USA. DOM constituents were characterized using a suite of indices derived from ultraviolet absorbance and PARAFAC modeling of fluorescence excitation emission matrices. Runoff sources and hydrologic flow paths were identified using an end-member mixing model, stable isotope data, and groundwater elevations from valley-bottom saturated areas. DOM constituents and their sources differed dramatically between base flow and storm-event conditions. The aromatic and humic DOM constituents in stream water increased significantly during storm events and were attributed to the contributions from surficial sources such as throughfall, litter leachate and soil water. Groundwater sources contributed a large fraction of the DOM constituents during base flow and were responsible for the high % protein-like fluorescence observed in base flow. Hydrologic flow paths and runoff sources were critical for explaining the differences in DOM among the storm events. This study underscored the value of studying multiple storm events across a range of hydrologic and seasonal conditions. Summer events produced the highest concentrations for humic and aromatic DOM while the corresponding response for winter events was muted. A large event following summer drought produced a complex DOM response which was not observed for the other events. These extreme events provided important insights into how DOM quality may change for future changes in climate and water quality implications for sensitive coastal ecosystems.
Inamdar, S., Singh, S., Dutta, S., Levia, D., Mitchell, M., Scott, D., Bais, H., and McHale P. (2011): Fluorescence characteristics and sources of dissolved organic matter for stream water during storm events in a forested mid-Atlantic watershed. J. Geophys. Res. 116:G03043.. DOI: 10.1029/2011JG001735