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Precipitation Chemistry

The ECN protocol for precipitation chemistry (PC)


Protocol file


Site types that use this protocol


Although acid rain and its effects have been of interest for more than 100 years (Smith 1872), most high-quality, systematic studies of acidic deposition have been carried out since the 1970s when observations of freshwater acidification alerted scientists to the need for better and more widespread data.

Subsequent research has highlighted the many impacts which the deposition of atmospherically transported pollutants has on ecosystems (eg Last & Watling 1991). The extent and significance of these impacts on physical, chemical and biotic components of ecosystems are likely to be affected by future changes in emissions of pollutants, and make the measurement of the deposition of atmospherically transported material an important activity for ECN.  The methods used by ECN conform with those used at Secondary Sites of the UK Precipitation Composition Monitoring Networks (UKPCMN).

Fourteen chemical variables are analysed weekly.

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Our field activities


Now that autumn has arrived the ECN fieldwork calendar begins to quieten down. We cease monitoring most terrestrial invertebrates apart from spiders. In rivers and lakes we make the last freshwater invertebrate survey of the year.

See all this month's field measurements...

Wytham in the autumn (fall). Photo: Denise Pallett