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  1. Abstract

    We use a tracer method involving the cosmogenic radioisotope beryllium‐7 (half‐life = 53.3 days) to follow the deposition of aerosols and the fate of snow on the MOSAiC ice floe during winter and spring 2019–2020. When examined alongside data from earlier studies in the Arctic Ocean that covered summer and fall, Be‐7 inventories indicate a summertime peak for aerosol Be‐7 deposition fluxes coinciding with seasonal minima boundary‐level aerosol concentrations, which suggests that deposition fluxes are primarily controlled by precipitation. This conclusion is supported by the linear relationship between Be‐7 fluxes and precipitation rates derived from data from the MOSAiC and SHEBA expeditions. Inventories of Be‐7 within the snow column exhibited evidence of significant redistribution. Be‐7 deficits, relative to the flux, were observed in areas of level sea ice while excess Be‐7 was found associated with deformed ice features such as pressure ridges, leading to the following estimates for the distribution of snow on the ice floe in May 2020: 75–93% of the snow mass is found on deformed sea ice with the remainder on level ice. Furthermore, uncertainties associated with measurements of Be‐7 concentrations within the ocean mixed layer would allow for losses of snow through open leads of up to approximately 20% of the flux. Our snow distribution estimates agree with data from repeat snow depth transect measurements. These results suggest that Be‐7 can be a useful tool in studying snow redistribution.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 21, 2025
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2024
  3. Abstract

    Atmospheric deposition of aerosols transported from the continents is an important source of nutrient and pollutant trace elements (TEs) to the surface ocean. During the U.S. GEOTRACES GP15 Pacific Meridional Transect between Alaska and Tahiti (September–November 2018), aerosol samples were collected over the North Pacific and equatorial Pacific and analyzed for a suite of TEs, including Al, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, and Pb. Sampling coincided with the annual minimum in dust transport from Asia, providing an opportunity to quantify aerosol TE concentrations and deposition during the low dust season. Nevertheless, peak concentrations of “crustal” TEs measured at ∼40–50°N (∼145 pmol/m3Fe) were associated with transport from northern Asia, with lower concentrations (36 ± 14 pmol/m3Fe) over the equatorial Pacific. Relative to crustal abundances, equatorial Pacific aerosols typically had higher TE enrichment factors than North Pacific aerosols. In contrast, aerosol V was more enriched over the North Pacific, presumably due to greater supply to this region from oil combustion products. Bulk deposition velocity (Vbulk) was calculated along the transect using the surface ocean decay inventory of the naturally occurring radionuclide,7Be, and aerosol7Be activity. Deposition velocities were significantly higher (4,570 ± 1,146 m/d) within the Intertropical Convergence Zone than elsewhere (1,764 ± 261 m/d) due to aerosol scavenging by intense rainfall. Daily deposition fluxes to the central Pacific during the low dust season were calculated using Vbulkand aerosol TE concentration data, with Fe fluxes ranging from 19 to 258 nmol/m2/d.

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  4. Abstract

    Despite the Pacific being the location of the earliest seawater Cd studies, the processes which control Cd distributions in this region remain incompletely understood, largely due to the sparsity of data. Here, we present dissolved Cd and δ114Cd data from the US GEOTRACES GP15 meridional transect along 152°W from the Alaskan margin to the equatorial Pacific. Our examination of this region's surface ocean Cd isotope systematics is consistent with previous observations, showing a stark disparity between northern Cd‐rich high‐nutrient low‐chlorophyll waters and Cd‐depleted waters of the subtropical and equatorial Pacific. Away from the margin, an open system model ably describes data in Cd‐depleted surface waters, but atmospheric inputs of isotopically light Cd likely play an important role in setting surface Cd isotope ratios (δ114Cd) at the lowest Cd concentrations. Below the surface, Southern Ocean processes and water mass mixing are the dominant control on Pacific Cd and δ114Cd distributions. Cd‐depleted Antarctic Intermediate Water has a far‐reaching effect on North Pacific intermediate waters as far as 47°N, contrasting with northern‐sourced Cd signatures in North Pacific Intermediate Water. Finally, we show that the previously identified negative Cd* signal at depth in the North Pacific is associated with the PO4maximum and is thus a consequence of an integrated regeneration signal of Cd and PO4at a slightly lower Cd:P ratio than the deep ocean ratio (0.35 mmol mol−1), rather than being related to in situ removal processes in low‐oxygen waters.

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  5. Abstract

    Deposition of aerosols to the surface ocean is an important factor affecting primary production in the surface ocean. However, the sources and fluxes of aerosols and associated trace elements remain poorly defined. Aerosol210Pb,210Po, and7Be data were collected on US GEOTRACES cruise GP15 (Pacific Meridional Transect, 152°W; 2018).210Pb fluxes are low close to the Alaskan margin, increase to a maximum at ∼43°N, then decrease to lower values. There is good agreement between210Pb fluxes and long‐term land‐based fluxes during the SEAREX program (1970–1980s), as well as between GP15 and GP16 (East Pacific Zonal Transect, 12°S; 2013) at adjacent stations. A normalized fractionf(7Be,210Pb) is used to discern aerosols with upper (highf) versus lower (lowf) troposphere sources. Alaskan/North Pacific aerosols show significant continental influence while equatorial/South Pacific aerosols are supplied to the marine boundary layer from the upper troposphere. Lithogenic trace elements Al and Ti show inverse correlations withf(7Be,210Pb), supporting a continental boundary layer provenance while anthropogenic Pb shows no clear relationship withf(7Be,210Pb). All but four samples have210Po/210Pb activity ratios <0.2 suggesting short aerosol residence time. Among the four samples (210Po/210Pb = 0.42–0.88), two suggest an upper troposphere source and longer aerosol residence time while the remaining two cannot be explained by long aerosol residence time nor a significant component of dust. We hypothesize that enrichments of210Po in them are linked to Po enrichments in the sea surface microlayer, possibly through Po speciation as a dissolved organic or dimethyl polonide species.

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  6. Abstract

    Atmospheric deposition represents a major input for micronutrient trace elements (TEs) to the surface ocean and is often quantified indirectly through measurements of aerosol TE concentrations. Sea spray aerosol (SSA) dominates aerosol mass concentration over much of the global ocean, but few studies have assessed its contribution to aerosol TE loading, which could result in overestimates of “new” TE inputs. Low‐mineral aerosol concentrations measured during the U.S. GEOTRACES Pacific Meridional Transect (GP15; 152°W, 56°N to 20°S), along with concurrent towfish sampling of surface seawater, provided an opportunity to investigate this aspect of TE biogeochemical cycling. Central Pacific Ocean surface seawater Al, V, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, and Pb concentrations were combined with aerosol Na data to calculate a “recycled” SSA contribution to aerosol TE loading. Only vanadium was calculated to have a SSA contribution averaging >1% along the transect (mean of 1.5%). We derive scaling factors from previous studies on TE enrichments in the sea surface microlayer and in freshly produced SSA to assess the broader potential for SSA contributions to aerosol TE loading. Maximum applied scaling factors suggest that SSA could contribute significantly to the aerosol loading of some elements (notably V, Cu, and Pb), while for others (e.g., Fe and Al), SSA contributions largely remained <1%. Our study highlights that a lack of focused measurements of TEs in SSA limits our ability to quantify this component of marine aerosol loading and the associated potential for overestimating new TE inputs from atmospheric deposition.

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  7. Abstract

    The surface waters of the Arctic Ocean include an important inventory of freshwater from rivers, sea ice melt, and glacial meltwaters. While some freshwaters are mixed directly into the surface ocean, cryospheric reservoirs, such as snow, sea ice, and melt ponds act as incubators for trace metals, as well as potential sources to the surface ocean upon melting. The availability and reactivity of these metals depends on their speciation, which may vary across each pool or undergo transformation upon mixing. We present here baseline measurements of colloidal (∼0.003–0.200 μm) iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), nickel (Ni), copper (Cu), cadmium (Cd), and manganese (Mn) in snow, sea ice, melt ponds, and the underlying seawater. We consider both the total concentration of colloidal metals ([cMe]) in each cryospheric reservoir and the contribution of cMe to the overall dissolved metal phase (%cMe). Notably, snow contained higher (cMe) as well as higher %cMe relative to seawater for metals such as Fe and Zn across most stations. Stations close to the North Pole had relatively high aerosol deposition, imparting high (cFe) and (cZn), as well as high %cFe, %cZn, %cMn, and %cCd (>80%). In contrast, surface seawater concentrations of Cd, Cu, Mn, and Ni were dominated by the soluble phase (<0.003 μm), suggesting little impact of cMe from the melting cryosphere, or rapid aggregation/disaggregation dynamics within surface waters leading to the loss of cMe. This has important implications for how trace metal biogeochemistry speciation and thus fluxes may change in a future ice‐free Arctic Ocean.

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