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Evaluation of Nitrate, fDOM, and Turbidity Sensors in New Hampshire Streams

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Created: Jan 17, 2018 at 9:32 p.m.
Last updated: Jan 18, 2018 at 7:07 p.m.
DOI: 10.4211/hs.ee0bd6dc2c224a7eaf7b01e931c26021
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Content types: Single File Content 
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A state-of-the-art network of water quality sensors was established in 2012 to gather year-round high temporal frequency hydrochemical data in streams and rivers throughout the state of New Hampshire through the NH EPSCoR project. This spatially-extensive network includes eight headwater stream and two main-stem river monitoring sites, spanning a variety of stream orders and land uses. We evaluated the performance of nitrate, fluorescent dissolved organic matter (fDOM), and turbidity sensors included in the sensor network and the data is shared here.

Nitrate sensors were first evaluated in the laboratory for interference by different forms of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), and then for accuracy in the field across a range of hydrochemical conditions. Turbidity sensors were assessed for their effectiveness as a proxy for concentrations of total suspended solids (TSS) and total particulate C and N, and fDOM as a proxy for concentrations of dissolved organic matter. Overall sensor platform performance was also examined by estimating percentage of data loss due to sensor failures or related malfunctions. Although laboratory sensor trials show that DOC can affect optical nitrate measurements, our validations with grab samples showed that the optical nitrate sensors provide a reliable measurement of NO3 concentrations across a wide range of conditions. Results showed that fDOM is a good proxy for DOC concentration (r2=0.82) but is a less effective proxy for dissolved organic nitrogen (r2=0.41). Turbidity measurements from sensors correlated well with TSS (r2=0.78), PC (r2=0.53) and PN (r2=0.51).

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Coordinate System/Geographic Projection:
WGS 84 EPSG:4326
Coordinate Units:
Decimal degrees
Place/Area Name:
New Hampshire
North Latitude
East Longitude
South Latitude
West Longitude


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Related Resources

This resource is described by Snyder, L. E., Potter, J. D., & McDowell, W. H. (2018). An Evaluation of Nitrate, fDOM, and Turbidity Sensors in New Hampshire Streams. Water Resources Research, submitted.


Funding Agencies

This resource was created using funding from the following sources:
Agency Name Award Title Award Number
National Science Foundation Research Infrastructure Improvement Awards EPS 1101245 and IIA- 1330641

How to Cite

Potter, J., L. Snyder (2018). Evaluation of Nitrate, fDOM, and Turbidity Sensors in New Hampshire Streams, HydroShare,

This resource is shared under the Creative Commons Attribution CC BY.


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