New insights on the role of sea ice in intercepting atmospheric pollutants using 129I
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
Centre for Marine Ecosystems Research
Measurements of 129I carried out on sea ice samples collected in the central Arctic Ocean in 2007 revealed relatively high levels in the range of 100-1400×107 at L-1 that are comparable to levels measured in the surface mixed layer of the ocean at the same time. The 129I/127I ratio in sea ice is much greater than that in the underlying water, indicating that the 129I inventory in sea ice cannot be supported by direct uptake from seawater or by iodine volatilization from proximal (nearby) oceanic regimes. Instead, it is proposed that most of the 129I inventory in the sea ice is derived from direct atmospheric transport from European nuclear fuel reprocessing plants at Sellafield and Cap La Hague. This hypothesis is supported by back trajectory simulations indicating that volume elements of air originating in the Sellafield/La Hague regions would have been present at arctic sampling stations coincident with sampling collection.