Seawater Radiocarbon Evolution in the Gulf of Alaska: 2002 Observations
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CitationGuilderson, T. P., Roark, E. B., Quay, P. D., Page, S. R. F., & Moy, C. (2006). Seawater radiocarbon evolution in the Gulf of Alaska: 2002 observations. Radiocarbon, 48(1), 1-15.
AbstractOceanic uptake and transport of bomb radiocarbon as 14CO2 created by atmospheric nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and 1960s has been a useful diagnostic for determining the carbon transfer between the ocean and atmosphere. In addition, the distribution of 14C in the ocean can be used as a tracer of oceanic circulation. Results obtained on 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 lower 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 (~-105 or lower). In the central gyre, we observe ∆14C values that are lower in comparison to GEOSECS (stn 218) and WOCE P16/P17 to a density of ~26.8 sigma-t. This observation is consistent with the overall decrease in surface ∆14C values and reflects the erosion of the bomb-14C transient. We propose that erosion of the bomb-14C transient is accomplished by entrainment of low-14C water via vertical exchange within the Gulf of Alaska and replenishment of surface and subthermocline waters with waters derived from the far northwest Pacific.