Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hurricane Irene polluted Catskills watershed

Date:
September 26, 2012
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
The water quality of lakes and coastal systems will be altered if hurricanes intensify in a warming world, according to a new study.

Samples taken from a stream in Esopus Creek in the Catskills during Hurricane Irene show the amount of sediment and organic matter collected during at 3.5-hour intervals.
Credit: Photo by Bryan Yoon

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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Hurricane Irene polluted Catskills watershed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120926141701.htm>.
Yale University. (2012, September 26). Hurricane Irene polluted Catskills watershed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120926141701.htm
Yale University. "Hurricane Irene polluted Catskills watershed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120926141701.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Operators of recreational businesses on western reservoirs worry that ongoing drought concerns will keep boaters and other visitors from flocking to the popular summer attractions. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) An Arkansas man has found a nearly 6.2-carat diamond, which he dubbed "The Limitless Diamond," at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins