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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2017-12-14
    Description: © The Author(s), 2016. This is the author's version of the work and is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers 113 (2016): 57-79, doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2016.03.008.
    Description: Thorium is a highly particle-reactive element that possesses different measurable radio-isotopes in seawater, with well-constrained production rates and very distinct half-lives. As a result, Th has emerged as a key tracer for the cycling of marine particles and of their chemical constituents, including particulate organic carbon. Here two different versions of a model of Th and particle cycling in the ocean are tested using an unprecedented data set from station GT11-22 of the U.S. GEOTRACES North Atlantic Section: (i) 21 228;230;234Th activities of dissolved and particulate fractions, (ii) 228Ra activities, (iii) 234;238U activities estimated from salinity data and an assumed 234U/238U ratio, and (iv) particle concentrations, below a depth of 125 m. The two model versions assume a single class of particles but rely on different assumptions about the rate parameters for sorption reactions and particle processes: a first version (V1) assumes vertically uniform parameters (a popular description), whereas the second (V2) does not. Both versions are tested by fitting to the GT11-22 data using generalized nonlinear least squares and by analyzing residuals normalized to the data errors. We find that model V2 displays a significantly better fit to the data than model V1. Thus, the mere allowance of vertical variations in the rate parameters can lead to a significantly better fit to the data, without the need to modify the structure or add any new processes to the model. To understand how the better fit is achieved we consider two parameters, K = k1=(k-1 + β-1) and K/P, where k1 is the adsorption rate constant, k-1 the desorption rate constant, β-1 the remineralization rate constant, and P the particle concentration. We find that the rate constant ratio K is large (≥0.2) in the upper 1000 m and decreases to a nearly uniform value of ca. 0.12 below 2000 m, implying that the specific rate at which Th attaches to particles relative to that at which it is released from particles is higher in the upper ocean than in the deep ocean. In contrast, K/P increases with depth below 500 m. The parameters K and K/P display significant positive and negative monotonic relationship with P, respectively, which is collectively consistent with a particle concentration effect.
    Description: We acknowledge the U.S. National Science Foundation for providing funding for this study (grant OCE-1232578) and for U.S. GEOTRACES North Atlantic section ship time, sampling, and data analysis.
    Description: 2017-03-31
    Keywords: GEOTRACES ; North Atlantic ; Thorium ; Particles ; Reversible Exchange ; Model ; Inverse Method
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
    Type: Preprint
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2018-01-10
    Description: © The Author(s), 2017. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here under a nonexclusive, irrevocable, paid-up, worldwide license granted to WHOI. It is made available for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers 125 (2017): 106-128, doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2017.05.003.
    Description: The high particle reactivity of thorium has resulted in its widespread use in tracing processes impacting marine particles and their chemical constituents. The use of thorium isotopes as tracers of particle dynamics, however, largely relies on our understanding of how the element scavenges onto particles. Here, we estimate apparent rate constants of Th adsorption (k1), Th desorption (k−1), bulk particle degradation (β-1), and bulk particle sinking speed (w) along the water column at 11 open-ocean stations occupied during the GEOTRACES North Atlantic Section (GA03). First, we provide evidence that the budgets of Th isotopes and particles at these stations appear to be generally dominated by radioactive production and decay sorption reactions, particle degradation, and particle sinking. Rate parameters are then estimated by fitting a Th and particle cycling model to data of dissolved and particulate 228,230,234Th, 228Ra, particle concentrations, and 234,238U estimates based on salinity, using a nonlinear programming technique. We find that the adsorption rate constant (k1) generally decreases with depth across the section: broadly, the time scale 1/k1 averages 1.0 yr in the upper 1000 m and (1.4–1.5) yr below. A positive relationship between k1 and particle concentration (P) is found, i.e., , k1 ∝ Pb where b ≥ 1, consistent with the notion that k1 increases with the number of surface sites available for adsorption. The rate constant ratio, K = k1/(k-1 + β-1), which measures the collective influence of rate parameters on Th scavenging, averages 0.2 for most stations and most depths. We clarify the conditions under which K/P is equivalent to the distribution coefficient, KD, test that the conditions are met at the stations, and find that decreases with P, in line with a particle concentration effect (dKD/dP 〈 0). In contrast to the influence of colloids as envisioned by the Brownian pumping hypothesis, we provide evidence that the particle concentration effect arises from the joint effect of P on the rate constants for thorium attachment to, and detachment from, particles.
    Description: We acknowledge the U.S. National Science Foundation for providing funding for this study (grant OCE-1232578) and for U.S. GEOTRACES North Atlantic section ship time, sampling, and data analysis. The U.S. NSF also supported the generation of 230Th data (OCE-0927064 to LDEO, OCE-O092860 to WHOI, and OCE-0927754 to UMN) and 228,234Th data (OCE-0925158 to WHOI).
    Keywords: GEOTRACES ; Thorium ; Particle Concentration Effect ; Single-particle class model ; Inverse method
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
    Type: Preprint
    Location Call Number Expected Availability
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