3 years ago

Dissolved scandium, yttrium, and lanthanum in the surface waters of the North Atlantic: Potential use as an indicator of scavenging intensity

K. W. Bruland, C. P. Till, W. M. Landing, R. U. Shelley
Recent work has begun to elucidate the biogeochemical cycling of scandium (Sc) in the open ocean, but so far no surface distribution data have been reported of dissolved Sc, and no basin-scale surface distributions have been reported of yttrium (Y) or lanthanum (La). This work presents basin-wide surface Sc, Y, and La data in a section across the North Atlantic subtropical gyre (2011 GEOTRACES GA03) and investigates the potential utility of these distributions. This work uses dissolved and aerosol concentration data for La and Sc to estimate their surface ocean residence times in both the center of the oligotrophic gyre and near the African coastline. This work additionally shows that the surface distribution of Sc in the North Atlantic correlates with the shape of the gyre as inferred by isotherm depth, with lower Sc concentrations at the gyre boundaries. This pattern suggests that Sc could be drawn down by the elevated particle flux at the gyre boundaries. In this case, Sc removal could be used as an indicator of scavenging intensity. In order to account for variable input of Sc to the surface ocean, we propose normalizing the Sc distribution to that of Y or La, which are much less particle reactive and are input via dust to the surface North Atlantic in constant ratios with Sc. Such normalization improves the correlation with isotherm depth. We propose that the variations in dissolved Y/Sc and La/Sc ratios may be due to preferential Sc scavenging and could therefore indicate scavenging intensity.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/2017JC012696

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