Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
13 Jan 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS) and is expected to appear here in due course.
The Potamochemical symphony: new progresses in the high frequency acquisition of stream chemical data
Paul Floury1,2, Jérôme Gaillardet1, Eric Gayer1, Julien Bouchez1, Gaëlle Tallec2, Patrick Ansart2, Frédéric Koch3, Caroline Gorge1, Arnaud Blanchouin2, and Jean-Louis Roubaty1 1Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, CNRS and Sorbonne Paris Cité, 1 rue Jussieu, 75238 Paris, France
2UR HBAN, Institut national de recherche en sciences et technologies pour l'environnement et l'agriculture, Antony, France
3Endress+Hauser SAS, Huningue, France
Abstract. Our understanding of hydrological and chemical processes at a catchment scale is limited by our capacity to record the full breadth of the information carried by river chemistry, both in terms of sampling frequency and in precision. Here, we present the proof-of-concept of a new system of water quality monitoring that we called the River Lab (RL), based on the idea of permanently installing a suite of laboratory instruments in the field. Confined in a bungalow next to the river, this set of instruments performs analyses at a frequency of 40-minutes for major dissolved species (Na+, K+, Mg2+, Ca2+, Cl, SO42−, NO3) through continuous sampling and filtration of the river water using automated ion chromatographs. The RL was deployed in the Orgeval Critical Zone Observatory, France for over a year of continuous analyses. Results show that the RL is able to capture long-term fine chemical variations with no drift and a precision a significantly better than conventionally achieved in the laboratory (up to ±0.5 % for all major species for over a day and up to 1.7 % over two months).

Using chemical signals obtained as a benchmark, we assess the effects of a lower sampling frequency (typical of traditional field sampling campaigns) and of a lower precision (typically reached in the laboratory) on the chemical river signal. The RL is able to capture the abrupt changes in dissolved species concentrations during a typical 6-days flood event, as well as unexpected daily oscillations during a hydrological boring period of summer drought.

The unprecedented, high-resolution, high precision measurements made possible by the RL open new perspectives for understanding critical zone hydro-bio-geochemical cycles. This approach also offers a solution for operational agencies to monitor the water quality in quasi real-time.

Citation: Floury, P., Gaillardet, J., Gayer, E., Bouchez, J., Tallec, G., Ansart, P., Koch, F., Gorge, C., Blanchouin, A., and Roubaty, J.-L.: The Potamochemical symphony: new progresses in the high frequency acquisition of stream chemical data, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Paul Floury et al.
Interactive discussionStatus: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version      Supplement - Supplement
RC1: 'Review of "The Potamochemical symphony..." by Floury et al', Anonymous Referee #1, 23 Feb 2017 Printer-friendly Version 
RC2: 'General and specific comments', Anonymous Referee #2, 25 Feb 2017 Printer-friendly Version 
AC1: 'Final author comments on behalf of all co-authors', Paul Floury, 28 Mar 2017 Printer-friendly Version Supplement 
Paul Floury et al.
Paul Floury et al.


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Short summary
We present a new prototype of Lab in the Field named River Lab (RL) designed for water quality monitoring to perform a complete analysis at sub-hourly frequency of major dissolved species in river water. The article is an analytical paper to present the proof-of-concept, its performances and improvements. Our tests reveal a significant improvement of reproducibility compared to conventional analysis in the laboratory. First results are promising for understanding the Critical Zone.
We present a new prototype of Lab in the Field named River Lab (RL) designed for water quality...