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Daily variability of dissolved inorganic radiocarbon in Sargasso Sea surface water


Surface water samples were collected daily in June 2000 at a site in the Sargasso Sea to observe variability of Δ14C values in dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). Temperature, salinity, DIC concentration, alkalinity, and δ13C and Δ14C values of DIC were measured in the samples. Ten Δ14C measurements averaged 81 ± 8‰ and had a range of 24‰ over the sixteen-day cruise. Δ14C values were more variable during the latter half of the cruise. Salinity and temperature measurements in the mixed layer throughout the cruise indicate that there were changes in water mass that occurred at our site. We conclude that the daily range of DIC Δ14C values in the surface ocean at our site is several times greater than the annual change in surface waters in the Sargasso Sea during the last two decades of the 20th century. This points to the importance of obtaining multiple measurements of the surface ocean to adequately define the true variability of DIC Δ14C measurements. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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