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Enrichment of 210 Pb and 210 Po in the sea-surface microlayer
Bacon, M.P.; Elzerman, A.W. (1998). Enrichment of 210 Pb and 210 Po in the sea-surface microlayer. Nature (Lond.) 284(5754): 332-334
In: Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science. Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 0028-0836, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Keywords
    Air-water interface; Heavy metals; Lead isotopes; Polonium isotopes; Surface microlayer; Trace metals; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Bacon, M.P.
  • Elzerman, A.W.

Abstract
    The authors report the first measurements of 210 Pb (t1/2 = 22.3 yr) and 210 Po (t1/2 = 138 d) in the sea-surface microlayer. These measurements were made to determine whether or not a significant flux of these radionuclides from the sea surface to the atmosphere could occur. They also introduce a method for treating chemical data that they believe may be useful in determining the origin of the trace-metal enrichments often observed in the microlayer. The authors have shown that the sea-surface microlayer is enriched in 210 Pb and 210 Po. Their interpretation of the data suggests that a significant fraction of the enrichment is maintained by concentration from the bulk surface seawater. In the open ocean this concentration process results in preferential transport of 210 Po to the air-sea interface. In coastal environments there may be a lesser degree of chemical fractionation. Because coastal waters often have 210 Po/210 Pb activity ratios <1, the sea surface is, in either case, a potential source of aerosols with 210 Po/210 Pb >1 as suggested by Turekian et al. The natural flux of microlayer material from the sea to the atmosphere, however, is not known. Note finally that analytical treatment of the microlayer enrichments was limited because only two elements were used. Further analysis by a multi-element approach is suggested.

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