Temporal evolution and variability of dissolved inorganic nitrogen in beach pore water revealed using radon residence times.

Environmental science & technology

PubMedID: 25399780

Goodridge BM, Melack JM. Temporal evolution and variability of dissolved inorganic nitrogen in beach pore water revealed using radon residence times. Environ Sci Technol. 2014;.
We coupled measurements of beach pore water residence time, determined using the radioisotopic tracer 222Rn, with dissolved carbon and nitrogen chemistry to identify the temporal evolution and variability of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) concentrations in beach pore water along the Santa Barbara, California coastline. Pore water dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and total dissolved nitrogen (TDN) ratios (DOC:TDN) were negative exponentially correlated with residence time. Mean pore water residence times were positively correlated with tidal amplitudes, and ranged from 4.4 to 6.4 days. We used this range in mean residence times to model radon residence time distributions (RTDs), and integrated them with modeled DIN vs. residence time relationships (DIN-temporal evolution, or DIN-te curves) to derive volume-weighted mean (VWM) DIN concentrations. We observed 1.2-fold and 5.2-fold differences (20% and 420% increases) in VWM DIN concentrations over the range in modeled RTDs and DIN-te curves, respectively, and a maximum 6.4-fold difference (540% increase) in VWM DIN concentrations for an interactive shift in the RTD and the DIN-te curve. Our study suggests that accounting for temporal variability in the RTD and DIN concentration of pore water is necessary to obtain more accurate estimates of DIN delivery to coastal oceans.