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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: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2014. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Elsevier for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography 116 (2015): 29-41, doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2014.07.007.
    Description: The long-lived uranium decay products 230Th and 231Pa are widely used as quantitative tracers of adsorption to sinking particles (scavenging) in the ocean by exploiting the principles of radioactive disequilibria. Because of their preservation in the Pleistocene sediment record and through largely untested assumptions about their chemical behavior in the water column, the two radionuclides have also been used as proxies for a variety of chemical fluxes in the past ocean. This includes the vertical flux of particulate matter to the seafloor, the lateral flux of insoluble elements to continental margins (boundary scavenging), and the southward flux of water out of the deep North Atlantic. In a section of unprecedented vertical and zonal resolution, the distributions of 230Th and 231Pa across the North Atlantic shed light on the marine cycling of these radionuclides and further inform their use as tracers of chemical flux. Enhanced scavenging intensities are observed in benthic layers of resuspended sediments on the eastern and western margins and in a hydrothermal plume emanating from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Boundary scavenging is clearly expressed in the water column along a transect between Mauritania and Cape Verde which is used to quantify a bias in sediment fluxes calculated using 230Th-normalization and to demonstrate enhanced 231Pa removal from the deep North Atlantic by this mechanism. The influence of deep ocean ventilation that leads to the southward export of 231Pa is apparent. The 231Pa/230Th ratio, however, predominantly reflects spatial variability in scavenging intensity, complicating its applicability as a proxy for the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation.
    Description: Funding for ship time, sampling operations, and hydrographic 552 data was provided by the U. S. National Science Foundation to the US GEOTRACES North Atlantic Transect Management team of W. Jenkins (OCE-0926423), E. Boyle (OCE-0926204), and G. Cutter (OCE-0926092). Radionuclide studies were supported by NSF (OCE-0927064 to L-DEO, OCE-0926860 to WHOI, OCE-0927757 to URI, and OCE-0927754 to UMN). LFR was also supported by Marie Curie Reintegration Grant and the European Research Council.
    Keywords: GEOTRACES ; North Atlantic Ocean ; Thorium ; Protactinium ; Scavenging ; Ventilation
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
    Type: Preprint
    Format: application/pdf
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