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Oxygen isotope ratio, barium and salinity in waters around the North American coast from the Pacific to the Atlantic: Implications for freshwater sources to the Arctic throughflow

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In 2002, oxygen isotope ratios of water (H218O/H216O), dissolved barium, and salinity were measured in surface waters around northern North America to identify freshwater sources and to provide a large-scale background for interpretation of regional inputs and processes. Oxygen isotope ratios showed that precipitation, river runoff, and sea ice meltwater were all significant contributors to the freshwater carried by the coastal component of the Arctic throughflow. Precipitation and runoff contributed <40% and >60%, respectively, to the freshwater found in surface waters along the Pacific coast. Sea ice meltwater contributed up to 65% to waters residing near the Mackenzie River and in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. The salinity-barium relationship, after being corrected for dilution by sea ice meltwater, indicated that freshwater from the Mackenzie River flowed eastward into Amundsen Gulf. It did not, however, continue eastward through Dolphin Union Strait and Coronation Gulf in 2002. In the eastern part of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Baffin Bay and the Labrador Sea, barium concentrations in surface waters were low, the result of biological activity and/or local freshwater inputs with low barium concentrations.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2010-01-01

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  • The Journal of Marine Research publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. In the area of biology, studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. Authors benefit from thorough reviews of their manuscripts, where an attempt is made to maximize clarity. The time between submission and publication is kept to a minimum; there is no page charge.
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