Unusual Roles of Discharge, Slope and SOC in DOC Transport in Small Mountainous Rivers, Taiwan

Li Chin Lee, Ting Chang Hsu, Tsung Yu Lee, Yu Ting Shih, Chuan Yao Lin, Shih Hao Jien, Thomas Hein, Franz Zehetner, Fuh Kwo Shiah, Jr Chuan Huang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Riverine dissolved organic carbon (DOC), responsible for riverine productivity, is rarely documented in subtropical small mountainous rivers (SMRs) where high rainfall and steep slopes are the main features. This study investigated the DOC export at eight sites in three Taiwan SMRs to characterize the dynamics and controlling factors of DOC transport. Results showed that the mean DOC concentration of ~0.78 mg L −1 is much lower than the global average of ~5.29 mg L −1 . However, the mean DOC yield, ~22.51 kg-C ha −1 yr −1 , is higher than the global average of 14.4–19.3 kg-C ha −1 yr −1 . Comparing with worldwide rivers from literature, the annual discharge, slope, and SOC (soil organic carbon) are controlling factors as expected, though they influence in different ways. SOC stock likely regulated by elevation-dependent biomes dominate the DOC supply, while slope restrains the DOC generation due to shallow soil depth and fast runoff velocity. However, the abundant discharge flushing this persistent low supply leads to a large DOC export in the SMRs. Furthermore, the DOC dynamics during typhoon periods showed a clockwise hysteresis, suggesting that the DOC is mainly from the riparian zone or downslope area during the rising limb of the hydrograph. This study elucidates the DOC transport in SMRs and provides an atypical yet significant piece of understanding on DOC transport in a global context.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1574
JournalScientific reports
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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