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Research article 15 May 2018

Research article | 15 May 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG).

Distributions of 210Po and 210Pb activities along the North Atlantic GEOTRACES GA01 (GEOVIDE) cruise: partitioning between the particulate and dissolved phase

Yi Tang1,2, Maxi Castrillejo3,4, Montserrat Roca-Martí3, Pere Masqué3,5, Nolwenn Lemaitre6, and Gillian Stewart2,1 Yi Tang et al.
  • 1Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, the Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York, USA
  • 2School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Queens College, City University of New York, Flushing, USA
  • 3Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals & Departament de Física, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, 08193, Spain
  • 4Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics, ETH-Zürich, Otto-Stern-Weg 5, Zürich, 8093, Switzerland
  • 5School of Science and Centre for Marine Ecosystems Research, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Western Australia, Australia
  • 6Department of Earth Sciences, Institute of Geochemistry and Petrology, ETH-Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland

Abstract. Vertical distributions of total and particulate 210Po and 210Pb activities in the water column were measured at eleven stations in the North Atlantic during the GEOTRACES GA01 GEOVIDE cruise in May–June 2014. Total 210Po activity was on average 24% lower than 210Pb activity in the upper 100m, and was closer to unity in the mesopelagic (100–1000m). The partitioning coefficients (Kd) along the transect suggest the preferential association of 210Po relative to 210Pb onto particles. The prominent role of small particles in sorption was confirmed by the observation that over 80% of the particulate radionuclide activity was on small particles. To account for the observed surface water 210Po/210Pb disequilibria, particulate radionuclide activities and export of both small (1–53μm) and large (>53μm) particles must be considered. A comparison between the GEOVIDE total particulate 210Po/210Pb activity ratios (AR) and the ratios in previous studies revealed a distinct geographic distribution, with lower particulate AR in the high-latitude North Atlantic (including this study) and Arctic in relation to all other samples. For the samples where apparent oxygen utilization (AOU) was calculated at the same depth and time as the 210Po/210Pb AR (40 stations including this study), there was a two-phase correlation between the total particulate AR and AOU demonstrating the competing forces of remineralization and radionuclide decay from particles as they age.

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Short summary
We measured 2 natural radio-isotopes, 210Po and 210Pb, in the dissolved and particulate phase along the GEOVIDE cruise track to try to understand the cycling of these isotopes across a diverse combination of currents, basins, and conditions in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Other groups collected data on many other trace elements and isotopes in order to map them as part of the GEOTRACES program. We found that Po and Pb activity was concentrated on small particles and varied within/between basins.
We measured 2 natural radio-isotopes, 210Po and 210Pb, in the dissolved and particulate phase...