School of Science
Vertical distributions of total and particulate polonium-210 (210Po) and lead-210 (210Pb) activities in the water column were measured at 11 stations in the North Atlantic during the GEOTRACES GA01 transect: GEOVIDE cruise in May–June 2014. Total 210Po activity was on average 24% lower than 210Pb activity in the upper 100m, and it 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 (ARs) and the ratios in previous studies revealed a distinct geographic distribution, with lower particulate ARs 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, likely reflecting the nature of the particles and demonstrating the forces of remineralization and radionuclide decay from particles as they age.
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