Recent evolution of 129 I levels in the Nordic Seas and the North Atlantic Ocean

Vivo-Vilches, Carlos, López-Gutiérrez, José María, Periáñez, Raúl, Marcinko, Charlotte, Le Moigne, Frederic A. C., McGinnity, Paul, Peruchena, Juan Ignacio and Villa-Alfageme, María (2018) Recent evolution of 129 I levels in the Nordic Seas and the North Atlantic Ocean Science of the Total Environment, 621 . pp. 376-386. DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.11.268.

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Most of the anthropogenic radionuclide 129I released to the marine environment from the nuclear fuel reprocessing plants (NFRP) at Sellafield (England) and La Hague (France) is transported to the Arctic Ocean via the North Atlantic Current and the Norwegian Coastal Current. 129I concentrations in seawater provides a powerful and well-established radiotracer technique to provide information about the mechanisms which govern water mass transport in the Nordic Seas and the Arctic Ocean and is gaining importance when coupled with other tracers (e.g. CFC, 236U).

In this work, 129I concentrations in surface and depth profiles from the Nordic Seas and the North Atlantic (NA) Ocean collected from four different cruises between 2011 and 2012 are presented. This work allowed us to i) update information on 129I concentrations in these areas, required for the accurate use of 129I as a tracer of water masses; and ii) investigate the formation of deep water currents in the eastern part of the Nordic Seas, by the analysis of 129I concentrations and temperature-salinity (T-S) diagrams from locations within the Greenland Sea Gyre. In the Nordic Seas, 129I concentrations in seawater are of the order of 109 at·kg− 1, one or two orders of magnitude higher than those measured at the NA Ocean, not so importantly affected by the releases from the NFRP. 129I concentrations of the order of 108 atoms·kg− 1 at the Ellet Line and the PAP suggest a direct contribution from the NFRP in the NA Ocean.

An increase in the concentrations in the Nordic Seas between 2002 and 2012 has been detected, which agrees with the temporal evolution of the 129I liquid discharges from the NFRPs in years prior to this. Finally, 129I profile concentrations, 129I inventories and T-S diagrams suggest that deep water formation occurred in the easternmost area of the Nordic Seas during 2012.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: AMS; 129I; Nordic Seas; North Atlantic Ocean; Deep water formation
Research affiliation: OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BI Biological Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.11.268
ISSN: 0048-9697
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2017 13:01
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2017 13:01

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