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Radium variability produced by shelf water transport and mixing in the western gulf of mexico


, : Radium variability produced by shelf water transport and mixing in the western gulf of mexico. Deep-Sea Research Part A Oceanographic Research Papers 31(12): 1501-1510

226Ra and 228Ra exhibit significant temporal and spatial variability in the near-surface western Gulf of Mexico. Concentrations of both isotopes during March 1976 were on the order of 22 to 26% greater than those observed during Feb. 1973. It is shown that analytical differences cannot account for this increase. Consideration of Ra levels in the western Caribbean sea indicates that there must be an internal source of Ra that has a significant but temporally variable influence on near-surface Ra concentrations in the western Gulf. Comparisons of Ra, salinity, and temperature data from 1973 and 1976 provide evidence that advective transport and mixing of Ra-rich shelf water with the interior water column of the western basin is responsible for the variability. By plotting 228Ra vs. 226Ra from this region, estimates of the apparent shelf-water component in the upper water column can be made. The results indicate 36% over the northern slope, 10 to 18% in the central western Gulf, and 3 to 7% over Campeche Bank. In addition to explaining the observed short-term variations of Ra in this region, this information should be useful for environmental impact assessments concerned with industrial discharges on the northern shelf.

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