Analysis of deep-water exchange in the Caspian Sea based on environmental tracers

2000
Authors
Kipfer, Rolf
Achermann, Daniel
Hofer, Markus
Aeschbach-Hertig, Werner
Beyerle, Urs
Imboden, Dieter M.
Rozanski, Kazimierz
Fröhlich, Klaus
Journal article
Published in
Deep Sea Research ; 47 (2000), 1. - pp. 621-654. - ISSN 0967-0637
Abstract
In order to quantify deep-water exchange in the Caspian Sea, the world's largest inland water body, water samples were analyzed for the transient tracers 3H, 3He, 4He, CFC-11, CFC-12 and atmospheric noble gases. Measurements of temperature, salinity (calculated from conductivity for the ionic composition of Caspian Sea water), and dissolved oxygen were employed to investigate the processes responsible for deep-water renewal. The Caspian Sea consists of two deep basins, the southern and central basins, separated by a sill, and a shallow northern basin. The deep water (below 200 m) accounts for almost 60% of the total water mass. Below 200 m the concentrations of 3H and 3He are much lower in the southern basin than at the same depths in the central basin, but this is not the case for either of the CFCs. However, apparent water ages calculated from 3H}3He and from CFC-12 concentrations are the same for the deep water of the southern and central basins, and yield deep-water exchange rates of approximately 7% per year for each of the two basins. This implies volume fluxes across the 200-m level of about 2220 km3 yr-1 within the southern basin and 770 km3 yr-1 within the central basin. Based on the apparent water ages, the oxygen depletion in the deep water is estimated to be about 0.35 mg l-1 yr-1. The processes responsible for deep-water exchange have not yet been identified conclusively. However, vertical temperature and salinity gradients observed during two expeditions, in September 1995 and 1996, suggest that within the southern and central basins large-scale convection cannot be triggered by seasonal cooling alone, but requires the surface water to be cold/saline or to contain high suspended sediment loads. In the central basin the increase in salinity occurring during ice formation in early winter is possibly sufficient to cause convection. In late summer, the horizontal transport of water from the upper 170 m of the central basin into the southern basin results in mixing down to 400 m. In winter this process might result in convection down to the maximum depth. Alternatively, the data are also consistent with the hypothesis that rare events cause large-scale convection down to the maximum depth in the southern and in the central basin simultaneously, followed by slight mixing that mainly affects only the top 500 m. According to apparent water ages from below 500 m, the last such major mixing event could have occurred in 1976 shortly before the water level of the Caspian Sea began to rise.
Subject (DDC)
570 Biosciences, Biology
Keywords
Caspian Sea,Deep-water exchange,Chlorofluorocarbon,Helium,Tritium
Cite This
ISO 690PEETERS, Frank, Rolf KIPFER, Daniel ACHERMANN, Markus HOFER, Werner AESCHBACH-HERTIG, Urs BEYERLE, Dieter M. IMBODEN, Kazimierz ROZANSKI, Klaus FRÖHLICH, 2000. Analysis of deep-water exchange in the Caspian Sea based on environmental tracers. In: Deep Sea Research. 47(1), pp. 621-654. ISSN 0967-0637. Available under: doi: 10.1016/S0967-0637(99)00066-7
BibTex
@article{Peeters2000Analy-6735,
year={2000},
doi={10.1016/S0967-0637(99)00066-7},
title={Analysis of deep-water exchange in the Caspian Sea based on environmental tracers},
number={1},
volume={47},
issn={0967-0637},
journal={Deep Sea Research},
pages={621--654},
author={Peeters, Frank and Kipfer, Rolf and Achermann, Daniel and Hofer, Markus and Aeschbach-Hertig, Werner and Beyerle, Urs and Imboden, Dieter M. and Rozanski, Kazimierz and Fröhlich, Klaus}
}

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<dcterms:abstract xml:lang="eng">In order to quantify deep-water exchange in the Caspian Sea, the world's largest inland water body, water samples were analyzed for the transient tracers 3H, 3He, 4He, CFC-11, CFC-12 and atmospheric noble gases. Measurements of temperature, salinity (calculated from conductivity for the ionic composition of Caspian Sea water), and dissolved oxygen were employed to investigate the processes responsible for deep-water renewal. The Caspian Sea consists of two deep basins, the southern and central basins, separated by a sill, and a shallow northern basin. The deep water (below 200 m) accounts for almost 60% of the total water mass. Below 200 m the concentrations of 3H and 3He are much lower in the southern basin than at the same depths in the central basin, but this is not the case for either of the CFCs. However, apparent water ages calculated from 3H}3He and from CFC-12 concentrations are the same for the deep water of the southern and central basins, and yield deep-water exchange rates of approximately 7% per year for each of the two basins. This implies volume fluxes across the 200-m level of about 2220 km3 yr-1 within the southern basin and 770 km3 yr-1 within the central basin. Based on the apparent water ages, the oxygen depletion in the deep water is estimated to be about 0.35 mg l-1 yr-1. The processes responsible for deep-water exchange have not yet been identified conclusively. However, vertical temperature and salinity gradients observed during two expeditions, in September 1995 and 1996, suggest that within the southern and central basins large-scale convection cannot be triggered by seasonal cooling alone, but requires the surface water to be cold/saline or to contain high suspended sediment loads. In the central basin the increase in salinity occurring during ice formation in early winter is possibly sufficient to cause convection. In late summer, the horizontal transport of water from the upper 170 m of the central basin into the southern basin results in mixing down to 400 m. In winter this process might result in convection down to the maximum depth. Alternatively, the data are also consistent with the hypothesis that rare events cause large-scale convection down to the maximum depth in the southern and in the central basin simultaneously, followed by slight mixing that mainly affects only the top 500 m. According to apparent water ages from below 500 m, the last such major mixing event could have occurred in 1976 shortly before the water level of the Caspian Sea began to rise.</dcterms:abstract>
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