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TitleModeling carbon isotopes in spruce trees reproduces air quality changes due to oil sands operations
AuthorSavard, M M; Bégin, C; Marion, J
SourceEnvironmental Pollution vol. 45, 2014 p. 1-8,
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20120397
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
NTS74D/05; 74D/06; 74D/07; 74D/09; 74D/10; 74D/11; 74D/12; 74D/13; 74D/14; 74D/15; 74E/02; 74E/03; 74E/04; 74E/05; 74E/06; 74E/07; 74E/10; 74E/11; 74E/12
AreaFort McMurray; MIldred Lake
Lat/Long WENS-112.0000 -110.5000 57.7500 56.2500
Subjectsenvironmental geology; vegetation; dendrochronology; carbon isotopes; isotopes; stable isotope studies; pollution; climate; climatic fluctuations; climate effects; petroleum exploration
Illustrationslocation maps; tables; graphs
ProgramCoal & Oil Resources Environmental Sustainability, Environmental Geoscience
AbstractDirect monitoring of air quality does not cover more than the last three decades in most industrialized countries. For that reason studies using growth-ring carbon isotopes (d13C) of several species of trees have recently investigated isotopic responses in the contexts of stationary and diffuse pollution in humid continental conditions. Here, the growth-ring d13C series (1880–2009) of spruce trees living in sub-humid subarctic conditions were measured to assess if they represent indicators for air quality changes near oil sands (OS) developments initiated in northeastern Alberta in 1967. The measured d13C pre-operation rings at two forest sites were analyzed along local climatic conditions to develop response-to-climate statistical models and predict the natural isotopic behaviour for the most recent part of the ring series. The measured trends and climate-modelled (natural) d13C values strongly depart during the operation period, depicting anomalies which can be nicely reproduced by multiple regression models combining climate and a proxy for OS airborne emissions. This research allows envisioning the use of carbon dendroisotopic indicators to compensate for the lack of long-term air quality measurement, and monitor environmental conditions in the sub-humid terrestrial ecosystem exposed to emissions from oil sands operations which are predicted to increase in the future.