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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
13 Nov 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).
The 226Ra-Ba relationship in the North Atlantic during GEOTRACES-GA01
Emilie Le Roy1, Virginie Sanial1,2,a, Matthew A. Charette2, Pieter van Beek1, François Lacan1, Stéphanie H. M. Jacquet3, Paul B. Henderson2, Marc Souhaut1, Maribel I. García-Ibáñez4, Catherine Jeandel1, Fiz F. Pérez4, and Géraldine Sarthou5 1LEGOS, Laboratoire d’Etudes en Géophysique et Océanographie Spatiales (Université de Toulouse, CNRS/CNES/IRD/UPS), Observatoire Midi Pyrénées, 14 Avenue Edouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France
2Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
3Aix Marseille Université, CNRS/INSU, Université de Toulon, IRD, Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography (MIO), UM110, 13288 Marseille, France
4Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas, IIM-CSIC, Vigo, E36208, Spain
5Laboratoire des Sciences de l'Environnement Marin (LEMAR), UMR 6539, IUEM, Technopôle Brest Iroise, 29280 Plouzané, France
anow at: Department of Marine Science, University of Southern Mississippi, Stennis Space Center, MS 39529, USA
Abstract. We report detailed sections of radium-226 (226Ra, T1/2 = 1602 y) activities and barium (Ba) concentrations determined in the North Atlantic (Portugal-Greenland-Canada) in the framework of the international GEOTRACES program (GA01 section – GEOVIDE project, May–July 2014). Dissolved 226Ra and Ba are strongly correlated along the GA01 section, a pattern that reflects their similar chemical behavior. Since 226Ra and Ba have been widely used as tracers of water masses and ocean mixing, we investigated more thoroughly their behavior in this crucial region for thermohaline circulation taking advantage of the contrasting biogeochemical patterns existing along the GA01 section. We used an Optimum Multiparameter (OMP) analysis to distinguish the relative importance of physical transport (water mass mixing) from non-conservative processes (sedimentary, river, or hydrothermal inputs; uptake by particles, and dissolved-particulate dynamics) on the 226Ra and Ba distributions in the North Atlantic. Results show that 72 % of the 226Ra and 68 % of the Ba can be explained by conservative mixing along the section and therefore, they can be considered as conservative tracers of water mass transport in the ocean interior. However, regions where 226Ra and Ba displayed non-conservative behavior were also identified, mostly at the ocean boundaries (seafloor, continental margins, and surface waters). Elevated 226Ra and Ba concentrations found in deep waters of the West European Basin reflect that lower North East Atlantic Deep Water (NEADWl) accumulates excess 226Ra and Ba from sediment diffusion during transport. In the upper 1500 m, deficiencies in 226Ra and Ba are likely explained by their incorporation in planktonic siliceous shells, or in barite (BaSO4) (Bishop, 1988). Finally, since Ba and 226Ra display different source terms (mostly deep-sea sediments for 226Ra and rivers for Ba), strong decoupling between 226Ra and Ba were observed at the land-ocean boundaries. This is especially true in the shallow stations near the coasts of Greenland and Newfoundland where high 226Ra / Ba ratios at depth reflect the diffusion of 226Ra from sediment and low 226Ra / Ba ratios in the upper water column reflect the input of Ba associated with meteoric waters.

Citation: Le Roy, E., Sanial, V., Charette, M. A., van Beek, P., Lacan, F., Jacquet, S. H. M., Henderson, P. B., Souhaut, M., García-Ibáñez, M. I., Jeandel, C., Pérez, F. F., and Sarthou, G.: The 226Ra-Ba relationship in the North Atlantic during GEOTRACES-GA01, Biogeosciences Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Emilie Le Roy et al.
Emilie Le Roy et al.
Emilie Le Roy et al.


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