Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
The hydrochemistry has been examined using the major element composition of river water at 12 gauging stations along the Rio Grande. As the Rio Grande Basin consists of two watersheds that have different hydrologic and climatic regimes, two chloride concentration records from the El Paso and Falcon Dam gauging stations have been extracted to reflect long-term variability in river chemistry of the upper and lower basins over the last 50–70 years. Both records contain decadal variability in chloride concentration but are different in nature. The chloride concentration record from the upper basin displays a distinct pattern of decadal variability similar to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). This indicates the chloride concentration at El Paso is largely determined by the amount of stream discharge of the upper basin that is associated with the PDO. Conversely, there is no such pattern of decadal variability in the chloride concentration record from the lower basin though several of the chloride concentration maxima coincide with minima in the PDO index. Instead, the chloride concentration record from the lower basin contains a progressively increasing trend of chloride concentration from 1970 to 1990, suggesting that anthropogenic disturbances (e.g., dam constructions and increased irrigation demands) may also play a role in intervening long-term changes in river chemistry.
Yuan, F., and S. Miyamoto (2004), Influence of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation on hydrochemistry of the Rio Grande, USA, and Mexico, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 5(12), Q12010, doi:10.1029/2004GC000769.