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Interpretation of dissolved atmospheric noble gases in natural waters

Summary: Interpretation of dissolved atmospheric noble gases
in natural waters
W. Aeschbach-Hertig, F. Peeters, U. Beyerle, and R. Kipfer
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science
and Technology, Du¨bendorf
Abstract. Several studies have used the temperature dependence of gas solubilities in
water to derive paleotemperatures from noble gases in groundwaters. We present a
general method to infer environmental parameters from concentrations of dissolved
atmospheric noble gases in water. Our approach incorporates statistical methods to
quantify uncertainties of the deduced parameter values. The equilibration temperatures of
water equilibrated with the atmosphere under controlled conditions could be inferred with
a precision and accuracy of 0.2 C. The equilibration temperatures of lake and river
samples were determined with a similar precision. Most of these samples were in
agreement with atmospheric equilibrium at the water temperature. In groundwaters either
recharge temperature or altitude could be determined with high precision ( 0.3 C and
60 m, respectively) despite the presence of excess air. However, typical errors increase to
3 C and 700 m if both temperature and altitude are determined at the same time,
because the two parameters are correlated. In some groundwater samples the composition
of the excess air deviated significantly from atmospheric air, which was modeled by partial
reequilibration. In this case the achievable precision of noble gas temperatures was


Source: Aeschbach-Hertig, Werner - Institut für Umweltphysik, Universität Heidelberg


Collections: Geosciences; Environmental Sciences and Ecology