Abstract: The 210Po-210Pb pair is increasingly used as a proxy of quantifying organic carbon export from the euphotic zone. However, disequilibria between 210Po and 210Pb in mesopelagic water have been poorly studied. Here we present unusual deficiencies of 210Po with respect to 210Pb in mesopelagic water (200–1000 m) in the South China Sea (SCS). The total particulate matter (TPM) increased by up to 32% in the mesopelagic layer comparing with the euphotic zone. The total 210Po/210Pb ratio varied from 0.41 to 0.98 with an average of 0.72 ± 0.19, showing an enhanced removal of 210Po in mesopelagic water. On average, particulate 210Po and 210Pb increased by 23% and 32% at the slope stations, respectively. These results indicated that the 210Po deficits result from lateral transport, probably via benthic nepheloid layer. Based on the deficiency of 210Po, the residence times of particulate 210Po were estimated to range from 0.11 to 0.25 year (avg. 0.17 ± 0.07 year), allowing resuspended sediment to disperse over a long range. The export fluxes of 210Po varied from 68 to 121 dpm m−2 d−1 with an average of 96 ± 27 dpm m−2 d−1, which was 6 times that out of the euphotic zone. Using the 210Po deficits, the export fluxes of TPM out of the mesopelagic layer were quantified to vary from 4.19 to 10.20 g m−2 d−1, revealing a large amount of particles from the shelf to the SCS basin. This study suggests that 210Po-210Pb could be an effective tracer of tracking particle cycling in mesopelagic water.
Profiles of 210Po/210Pb ratio in mesopelagic water in the western South China Sea
Citation: Ma, Haoyang; Yang, Weifeng; Zhang, Lihao; Zhang, Run; Chen, Min; Qiu, Yusheng; Zheng, Minfang. Utilizing 210Po deficit to constrain particle dynamics in mesopelagic water, western South China Sea. Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 2017, 18 (4):1594-1607, doi:10.1002/2017GC006899.
Link to full text: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2017GC006899/full.