Radium tracing nutrient inputs through submarine groundwater discharge in the global ocean

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Abstract

Riverine and atmospheric inputs are often considered as the main terrestrial sources of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN), phosphorus (DIP), and silicon (DSi) in the ocean. However, the fluxes of nutrients via submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) often exceed riverine inputs in different local and regional scale settings. In this study, we provide a first approximation of global nutrient fluxes to the ocean via total SGD, including pore water fluxes, by combining a global compilation of nutrient concentrations in groundwater and the SGD-derived 228Ra fluxes. In order to avoid overestimations in calculating SGD-derived nutrient fluxes, the endmember value of nutrients in global groundwater was chosen from saline groundwater samples (salinity >10) which showed relatively lower values over all regions. The results show that the total SGD-derived fluxes of DIN, DIP, and DSi could be approximately 1.4-, 1.6-, and 0.7-fold of the river fluxes to the global ocean (Indo-Pacific and Atlantic Oceans), respectively. Although significant portions of these SGD-derived nutrient fluxes are thought to be recycled within sediment-aquifer systems over various timescales, SGD-derived nutrient fluxes should be included in the global ocean budget in order to better understand dynamic interactions at the land-ocean interface.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2439
JournalScientific Reports
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

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