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Diatom evidence for recent acidification of two Scottish lochs


Claims that highly acid (pH <5.0), often fishless lakes have become so as a result of recent (mainly twentieth century) acidification processes have not been fully validated because there are few acid lakes that have been the subject of long-term continuous monitoring. However, diatom analysis of 210Pb-dated sediment cores can provide the detailed historical perspective required. Here we use these techniques to show that some lakes in the UK have become strongly acidified within the past 130 yr. Analysis of cores from two lakes in Galloway, south-west Scotland, indicate that both lakes, one with an unafforested catchment and one with a recently afforested catchment, have experienced pH declines of approximately 1 pH unit (from pH 5.5 to 4.5) during this time.

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Flower, R., Battarbee, R. Diatom evidence for recent acidification of two Scottish lochs. Nature 305, 130–133 (1983).

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