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Calibration of the sodium base cation dominance index of weathering for the River Dee catchment in north-east Scotland.

Stutter, M., Smart, R. and Cresser, M. (2001) Calibration of the sodium base cation dominance index of weathering for the River Dee catchment in north-east Scotland. Applied Geochemistry, 17 (1). pp. 11-19. ISSN 0883-2927

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Previously the dominance of base cations by Na+ in river water in upland catchments with low weathering rates and influenced by marine-derived aerosols has been suggested as a quantitative index of weathering rate upstream of the sampling point. Using data for 59 sites from a study of the River Dee catchment in NE Scotland, the index has been fully calibrated against catchment weathering rates and net alkalinity production, derived through input output budget methods, for both upland and agricultural catchments and over a wide range of parent materials. It is shown that the relationship between Na+ dominance and weathering rate is logarithmic, rather than linear as initially suggested. The excellent correlations highlight the potential use of this Na+ dominance index for the direct quantification of catchment susceptibility to acidification at fine spatial resolution, using a few simple and inexpensive measurements. Stronger correlations were observed between the % Na+ dominance and net annual flux of alkalinity than between % Na+ dominance and weathering rate derived from summation of base cation fluxes. This demonstrates the importance of mechanisms controlling the transport of base cations out of catchments, namely in association with organic matter and with anthropogenically derived SO42−. These processes are shown to reduce the residual alkalinity derived through weathering. The partial neutralization of organic acidity by internally generated alkalinity has implications in the context of using the mass balance approach for setting critical loads for catchments.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Environment (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2009 16:10
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2009 16:10
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0883-2927(01)00090-7
Status: Published
Publisher: Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam.
Identification Number: 10.1016/S0883-2927(01)00090-7
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5646

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