Black Carbon (BC) is a long-lasting and ubiquitous product of combustion. It is found
nearly everywhere on the Earth’s surface, oceans, and atmosphere. It was originally considered
to be very stable in soils, but is now understood to be mobile in terrestrial and aquatic
environments. The magnitude of BC flux into oceans via riverine transport has been established,
but the exact conditions under which transport occurs are unknown. This research monitored
surface water sites to determine if a pulse of BC could be identified from a recently burned
forested area in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. BC was shown to vary more highly in
concentration at lower stream order, however, short-term trends in concentration demonstrated
no signal of recent fire activity in dissolved BC. Instead, surface waters exhibited evidence of a
stable pool of dissolved BC being released to streams from the watershed.
Ragar, Dillon (2017): Short-Term Wildfire Impacts in a Rocky Mountain Catchment: Searching for Evidence of Riverine Black Carbon Transport after the Cold Springs Wildfire. Senior honors thesis, Environmental Studies, University of Colorado..
This Paper/Book acknowledges NSF CZO grant support.