A new question

My research was a summer of complications; questions I posed about my methods or my results, issues that reared their heads, caused me to think and rethink and rethink my project. One such additional issue was that of throughfall chemistry. The rainfall I had been collecting was from out in the open, but streams are never isolated out in the open. Rainfall interacts with the ecosystem: trees, plants, and soil. How does the ecosystem affect rainfall chemistry? To answer this question, I looked at throughfall chemistry. Throughfall is defined as the water that hits leaves and is then shed off.



To do so, I kept a close eye on the forecast. Before a storm, I put out two collection bins – one for open rainfall, and one for throughfall. I placed the bin for open rainfall right next to the shed. The throughfall bin was placed under total canopy. After the storm, I collected the rain for analysis.



I repeated this multiple times throughout the summer. I found the solute chemistry differed from time to time depending on a variety of factors, such as when it had rained last, the volume of rainwater from that storm, etc. For example, when it had been dry for a time, I found an increase in sodium in the throughfall, due to the rain rinsing dust and aerosols from the leaves. These changes in solute chemistry were factors I had not previously considered. A change in concentrations could significantly affect a given age. I will continue to look at throughfall chemistry and incorporate the differences into my final age calculation.