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DGMETA (Version 1): Dissolved Gas Modeling and Environmental Tracer Analysis Computer Program

November 13, 2023

DGMETA (Dissolved Gas Modeling and Environmental Tracer Analysis) is a Microsoft Excel-based computer program that is used for modeling air-water equilibrium conditions from measurements of dissolved gases and for computing concentrations of environmental tracers that rely on air-water equilibrium model results. DGMETA can solve for the temperature, salinity, excess air, fractionation of gases, or pressure/elevation of water when it is equilibrated with the atmosphere. Models are calibrated inversely using one or more measurements of dissolved gases such as helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon, and nitrogen. Excess nitrogen gas, originating from denitrification or other sources, also can be included as a fitted parameter or as a separate calculation from the dissolved gas modeling results. DGMETA uses the air-water equilibrium models to separate measured concentrations of gases and isotopes of gases into components that are used for tracing water in the environment. DGMETA calculates atmospheric dry-air mole fractions (mixing ratios) for transient atmospheric gas tracers such as chlorofluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and bromotrifluoromethane (Halon-1301); and concentrations of tritiogenic helium-3 and radiogenic helium-4, which accumulate from the decay of tritium in water and the decay of uranium and thorium in rocks, respectively.

Sample data can be graphed to identify applicable models of excess air, samples that contain excess nitrogen gas, or samples that have partially degassed, for example. Monte Carlo analysis of errors associated with dissolved gas equilibrium model results can be carried through computations of environmental tracer concentrations to provide robust estimates of error. In addition, graphical routines for separating helium sources using helium isotopes are included to refine estimates of tritiogenic helium-3 when terrigenic helium from mantle or crustal sources is present in samples. Environmental tracer concentrations and their errors computed from DGMETA can be used with other programs, such as TracerLPM (Jurgens and others, 2012), to determine groundwater ages and biogeochemical reaction rates. DGMETA also produces output files in a format that meets the U.S. Geological Survey open data requirements for documentation of model inputs and outputs.

DGMETA is a versatile and adaptable program that allows users to add solubility data for new gases, modify the existing set of gas solubility data, modify the default set of gases used for modeling, choose calculations based on real (non-ideal) gas behavior, and select various concentration units for data entry and results to match laboratory reports and study objectives. DGMETA comes with a set of gases widely used in hydrology and oceanography and many gases include multiple solubilities from previous work. Seventeen dissolved gases are included in the default version of the program: noble gases (helium, neon, argon, krypton, and xenon), reactive gases (nitrogen, oxygen, methane, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and nitrous oxide), and environmental tracers (chlorofluorocarbon-11, chlorofluorocarbon-12, chlorofluorocarbon-113, sulfur hexafluoride, and Halon-1301).

Publication Year 2023
Title DGMETA (Version 1): Dissolved Gas Modeling and Environmental Tracer Analysis Computer Program
DOI 10.5066/P9NQ1RFY
Authors Bryant Jurgens
Product Type Software Release
Record Source USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog
USGS Organization Sacramento Projects Office (USGS California Water Science Center)