|Jeong, JJ; Park, J-H; Bartsch, S; Fleckenstein, J; Matzner, E; Tenhunen, J; Lee, SD; Park, SK: Differential storm responses of dissolved and particulate organic carbon in a mounainous headwater stream, investigated by high-frequency, in situ optical measurements, Journal of Geophysical Research, Biogeosciences, 117, G03013 (2012), doi:10.1029/2012JG001999|
Although land-water carbon (C) transport represents a critical link in the global C cycle, rare attempts have been made to compare hydrologic controls over storm pulses of dissolved organic C (DOC) and particulate organic C (POC) in mountainous watersheds. An immersible UV/Vis spectrophotometer was used to comparatively investigate the rapid storm responses of stream water DOC and POC in a small mountainous forested watershed in South Korea. High-frequency measurements at 5-min intervals during 42 hydrologic events, including monsoon storms and winter snowmelts, showed consistent patterns: POC concentrations were lower than DOC concentrations during base flow and small storm events but exceeded them during the peak flow periods of intense storm events. Although both the DOC and POC concentrations had hysteretic relationships with discharge, the POC concentrations showed larger increases and variations after crossing a threshold discharge on the rising limb of the storm hydrograph. Stronger responses to intense storms resulted in a disproportionately large export of POC at high flow, whereas a large portion of the total DOC flux was exported under prevailing low-flow conditions. The results demonstrate the potential of in situ optical measurements for investigating fine-resolution dynamics of the DOC and POC export during storm events. Stronger storm responses of the POC export compared to the limited response range of the DOC export suggest that erosion-induced POC export will become more important as a major pathway for the hydrologic soil C loss from mountainous watersheds in response to an increasing occurrence of extreme storm events.