Future climate change is expected to increase the storm intensity for Northeast, thus altering the temporal and compositional pattern of dissolved organic carbon transport. Coupled with increasing dependence on urban watersheds, such change will inevitably affect the formation potential of harmful disinfection by-products.
2011 Urban Fellow
Research Topic: Water Quality and Hydrology
Faculty Advisor: Peter Raymond
Control of Precipitation Events on Dynamics of Disinfection Byproduct Formation Potential
We incorporate high-resolution time-series data to calculate the total amount of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) transported during Hurricane Irene in Esopus Creek in New York (August 2011). During this 200-yr event the Esopus Creek experienced a 330-fold discharge increase and a 4-fold increase in concentration, resulting in the export of roughly 43% and 31% of its average annual DOC and DON fluxes, respectively, in just 5 days. The source of this large dissolved organic matter (DOM) flux also shifted during its course and showed an increased contribution of aromatic organic matter. We conclude that more frequent large events due to climate change will increase the export of terrigenous dissolved organic matter, and potentially impact the water quality and biogeochemistry of lakes and coastal systems. In addition, we show that the use of conventional models for extreme events lead to erroneous flux calculations, unless supported by high resolution data collected during the events.