Testing passive collectors to estimate atmospheric deposition

One approach to make the sampling of atmospheric deposition easier in remote sites (such as many of the REPLIM ones), is to use passive samplers.

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 One of the aims of REPLIM is to implement a system using rain and snow collectors fitted with exchange resin cartridges. The precipitation water passes through the cartridge, which retains the solutes of interest. At the end of the sampling period (typically between 3 and 12 months), the solutes stored over time are eluted and analysed. This system allows a wide deployment of collectors in space, even in sites with a difficult access, because the sampling frequency required is low. It is specially well suited to estimate atmospheric nitrogen loads on the aquatic ecosystems in high mountain catchments.

A team from CREAF is leading this task. Some members of LOOP have been assisting them in the testing of the passive collectors’ performance. To do so, four standard collectors and four passive collectors have been installed in the vicinities of our automatic weather station close to lake Llebreta, from June to November 2017. The standard collectors have been sampled weekly by personnel from LOOP and from the Aigüestortes National Park (to whom we are very grateful!!). Resin cartridges from the passive collectors have been replaced every six weeks.

In late November, the rain collectors have been substituted by a large volume sampler for snow, with a resin cartridge in the bottom to sample the season’s snowmelt water.


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