Smoke deposition to water surfaces drives hydrochemical changes

Elizabeth W. Boyer, Max A. Moritz, Michael G. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This study presents a unique data set from a laboratory experiment where we explored changes in the chemical composition of deionized water samples exposed to smoke. Inside a laboratory hood, water samples placed into a chamber were exposed to smoke for up to 60 min. The pattern of variations in hydrochemistry observed over time with increasing smoke exposure was similar in response to two different smoke treatments generated from burning tree litter. To estimate the smoke dosage and assess the consistency of replicate smoke treatments, we conducted additional experiments to evaluate changes in light transmission. Smoke inputs to the deionized water samples drove changes in hydrochemistry, with increases in acidity (with decreasing pH values), the content of organic matter (with increasing concentrations of dissolved organic carbon and dissolved organic nitrogen), and the content of inorganic N species (with increasing concentrations of ammonium, nitrate, and nitrite). The study was conducted on deionized water samples, and the results may not be directly transferrable to natural waters. Stream or lake waters that are low in ionic strength, poorly buffered, or low in acid-neutralizing capacity might respond the most similar to the results of this study. In contrast, well-buffered surface waters having higher acid-neutralizing capacity would be more likely to neutralize acidic inputs from the smoke without significant effects on water quality. The publicly available dataset associated with this study will contribute to further consideration of the relative importance of short-term changes in hydrochemistry driven by in-stream inputs (e.g., changes in water chemistry from direct smoke deposition to the water surface) in contrast to terrestrial inputs (e.g., changes in water chemistry stemming from altered flow paths and source areas of the burned watershed landscape).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere14626
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology


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