Thirty years of chemical changes in alpine acid-sensitive lakes in the Alps

Rogora, Michela and Colombo, Luca and Lepori, Fabio and Marchetto, Aldo and Steingruber, Sandra and Tornimbeni, Ombretta (2013) Thirty years of chemical changes in alpine acid-sensitive lakes in the Alps. Water, Air, Soil Pollution, 224 (1746). ISSN 1573-2932

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The subalpine and alpine areas in North-Western Italy and Southern Switzerland (Canton Ticino)receive high deposition of atmospheric pollutants transported from emission sources in the Po Valley. Long-term studies on high-altitude lakes in these areas indicate widespread recovery from acidification, even though most of them are still su bstantially affected, especially by deposition of nitrogen compounds. We analysed long-term trends of the major chemical compounds in a sample (n=41) of high-altitude lakes, both at the site and regional levels, with the aim to assess the response of water chemistry to change sinatmospheric deposition and climate. These lakes have been studied since the early 1980s in the context of research programmes on acidification and atmospheric pollution. The significant decrease of sulfate and acidity in atmospheric deposition led to acidification recovery in the majority of the lakes. However, some lakes are still acidic or show a high sensitivity to acidification. This sensitivity is particularly evident at the snowmelt, when alkalinity is still fully.

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