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Comparison of particulate trace element concentrations in the North Atlantic Ocean as determined with discrete bottle sampling and in situ pumping


The oceanic geochemical cycles of many metals are controlled, at least in part, by interactions with particulate matter, and measurements of particulate trace metals are a core component of the international GEOTRACES program. Particles can be collected by several methods, including in-line filtration from sample bottles and in situ pumping. Both approaches were used to collect particles from the water column on the U.S. GEOTRACES North Atlantic Zonal Transect cruises. Statistical comparison of 91 paired samples collected at matching stations and depths indicate mean concentrations within 5% for Fe and Ti, within 10% for Cd, Mn and Co, and within 15% for Al. Particulate concentrations were higher in bottle samples for Cd, Mn and Co but lower in bottle samples for Fe, Al and Ti, suggesting that large lithogenic particles may be undersampled by bottles in near-shelf environments. In contrast, P was 58% higher on average in bottle samples. This is likely due to a combination of analytical offsets between lab groups, differences in filter pore size, and potential loss of labile P from pump samples following misting with deionized water. Comparable depth profiles were produced by the methods across a range of conditions in the North Atlantic.

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