Sea Water Radiocarbon Evolution in the Gulf of Alaska: 2002 Observations

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Oceanic uptake and transport of bomb radiocarbon as {sup 14}CO{sub 2} created by atmospheric nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and 1960s has been a useful diagnostic to determine the carbon transfer between the ocean and atmosphere. In addition, the distribution of radiocarbon in the ocean can be used as a tracer of oceanic circulation. Results obtained from samples collected in the Gulf of Alaska in the summer of 2002 provide a direct comparison with results in the 1970s during GEOSECS and in the early 1990s during WOCE. The open gyre values are 20-40{per_thousand} more negative than those documented in ... continued below

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Guilderson, T P; Roark, E B; Quay, P D; Flood-Page, S R & Moy, C April 8, 2005.

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Oceanic uptake and transport of bomb radiocarbon as {sup 14}CO{sub 2} created by atmospheric nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and 1960s has been a useful diagnostic to determine the carbon transfer between the ocean and atmosphere. In addition, the distribution of radiocarbon in the ocean can be used as a tracer of oceanic circulation. Results obtained from samples collected in the Gulf of Alaska in the summer of 2002 provide a direct comparison with results in the 1970s during GEOSECS and in the early 1990s during WOCE. The open gyre values are 20-40{per_thousand} more negative than those documented in 1991 and 1993 (WOCE) although the general trends as a function of latitude are reproduced. Surface values are still significantly higher than pre-bomb levels ({approx}-105{per_thousand} or lower). In the central gyre, we observe {Delta}{sup 14}C-values that are lower in comparison to GEOSECS (stn 218) and WOCE P16/P17 to a density of {approx}26.8{sigma}t. This observation is consistent with the overall decrease in surface {Delta}{sup 14}C values, and reflects the erosion of the bomb-{sup 14}C transient. We propose that erosion of the bomb-{sup 14}C transient is accomplished by entrainment of low {sup 14}C water via vertical exchange within the Gulf of Alaska and replenishment of surface and sub-thermocline waters with waters derived from the far northwest Pacific.

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PDF-file: 27 pages; size: 0.7 Mbytes

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  • Journal Name: Radiocarbon, vol. 48, no. 1, January 30, 2006, pp. 1-15

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  • Report No.: UCRL-JRNL-213370
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 897991
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc886759

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  • April 8, 2005

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  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Dec. 9, 2016, 7:05 p.m.

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Guilderson, T P; Roark, E B; Quay, P D; Flood-Page, S R & Moy, C. Sea Water Radiocarbon Evolution in the Gulf of Alaska: 2002 Observations, article, April 8, 2005; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc886759/: accessed October 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.