Application of high-resolution spectral absorbance measurements to determine dissolved organic carbon concentration in remote areas

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Dissolved organic carbon, Boreal mire, Multiple stepwise regression calibration, Peatland, UV–visible light spectroscopy


Accurate quantification of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in surface and soil pore waters is crucial for understanding changes in water resources under the influence of climate and land use changes. Sampling and laboratory analysis of DOC content at a sufficient temporal frequency are especially difficult to achieve for natural DOC sources like the extensive boreal and arctic mire landscapes due to their remoteness. Therefore, the goals of this paper are (1) to investigate the performance of a portable, high-resolution ultraviolet–visible light spectroscopic method for determining the DOC content of surface and soil pore water samples from a boreal mire complex and (2) to compare the spectroscopic method with other DOC measurement techniques, e.g., the wet heated persulfate oxidation method and a laboratory, expulsion-based spectrophotometric method and (3) to assess different multivariate models that relate absorbance measurements with DOC contents. The study indicates that high-resolution spectroscopic measurements provide a simple, robust and non-destructive method for measuring DOC content. These measurements are of short duration (<1 >min) and the sample analysis is portable, rendering this method particularly advantageous for in situ investigations at remote field locations. The study also demonstrates that if absorbances at specific wavelengths are used as proxies for DOC concentration, it is recommended to create site-specific calibration models that include more than one wavelength to achieve the optimal accuracy of the proxy-based DOC quantification.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.