Abstract Title:

Plutonium isotopes as tracers for ocean processes: a review.

Abstract Source:

Mar Environ Res. 2010 Mar;69(2):73-84. Epub 2009 Aug 21. PMID: 19773079

Abstract Author(s):

Patric Lindahl, Sang-Han Lee, Paul Worsfold, Miranda Keith-Roach

Article Affiliation:

Marine Environment Research Department, Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute, Ansan, P.O. Box 29, Seoul 425-600, Republic of Korea. [email protected]


Since the first nuclear weapons tests in the 1940s, pulsed inputs of plutonium isotopes have served as excellent tracers for understanding sources, pathways, dynamics and the fate of pollutants and particles in the marine environment. Due to the well-defined spatial and temporal inputs of Pu, the long half-lives of (240)Pu and (239)Pu and its unique chemical properties, Pu is a potential tracer for various physical and biogeochemical ocean processes, including circulation, sedimentation and biological productivity, and hence a means of assessing the impacts of global climate change. Due to the source dependency of the Pu isotopic signature, plutonium isotopes are beginning to be exploited as tools for the evaluation and improvement of regional and global ocean models that will enhance understanding of past and future changes in the oceans. This paper addresses the major sources of Pu and the physical and biogeochemical behaviour in the marine environment. Finally, the use of Pu isotopes as tracers for various oceanic processes (e.g. water mass transport, particle export, and sedimentation) is considered.

Study Type : Review

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