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Collaborative Research: Sample Analysis to Test a Novel Method of Determining Atmospheric Deposition of Trace Elements to the Ocean/Ice System of the Arctic


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Ocean & fiord systems
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The investigators will use the naturally occurring isotope beryllium-7, which is produced in the atmosphere by cosmic rays and has a 53.3-day half-life, as a tracer for estimating the atmospheric fluxes of a variety of trace elements to the surface of the Arctic Ocean. They have collected samples of snow, sea ice, surface waters, and atmospheric aerosols through an international collaboration concurrent with the preparation of this grant. This project provides funding for the analysis of Be-7 and for trace elements including aluminum, manganese, iron, cupper, zinc, cadmium, and lead. The atmospheric input of numerous chemical species into the global ocean has been shown to equal or exceed that from river sources. In the Arctic, several contaminant elements in particular are dominated by atmospheric sources, with implications for the Arctic ecosystem and human health. The project will investigate several elements of interest to the international GEOTRACES program, which is currently formulating plans for coordinated Arctic work. The project will support a Ph.D. student who will incorporate these results into his dissertation.