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Title: Feasibility of large scale deliberate tracer release experiments in or below the oceanic thermocline

Abstract

The relative importance of lateral and vertical mixing in the interior of the oceans cannot be reliably determined from conventional oceanographic measurements, nor from observations of fallout radionuclides. It is suggested that the problem could be most effectively studied by an experiment in which a large quantity of a suitable tracer was deliberately released in deep water, and its subsequent dispersion was followed for at least one year. The feasibility of such an experiment is examined. It is concluded that it is indeed feasible, and that helium-3 would be the most suitable tracer, with tritium as a possible alternative. About 30 g f Helium-3 would be needed for each release. Such a quantity may be dissoled in about 1 m/sup 3/ of water at pressures greater than 500 dbar, is easily available, and would cost about $100K. Concentrations would have fallen to unmeasurable levels by the time the patch had spread sufficiently to interfere with measurements of natural or radiogenic helium-3. The patch would need to be marked with dusters of neutrally buoyant floats in order that its movement may be followed. It is estimated that it would be around 1000 km across after one year, and anything from amore » few meters to a few hundred meters thick. Vertically integrating samples would probably be most suitable, used in conjunction with ship-board helium-3 mass spectrometer. Methods of dissolving the helium in situ, and making the release with minimum disturbance are also proposed. The cost would be several million dollars, spread over several years.« less

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Columbia Univ., Palisades, NY (USA). Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory
OSTI Identifier:
6599484
Report Number(s):
DOE/EV/10038-1
TRN: 81-006331
DOE Contract Number:  
AC02-79EV10038
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; SEAS; MIXING; CARBON DIOXIDE; CESIUM 137; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; DATA COMPILATION; DYES; FEASIBILITY STUDIES; FREONS; HELIUM 3; RADIOACTIVE WASTES; TRACER TECHNIQUES; TRITIUM; ALKALI METAL ISOTOPES; BETA DECAY RADIOISOTOPES; BETA-MINUS DECAY RADIOISOTOPES; CARBON COMPOUNDS; CARBON OXIDES; CESIUM ISOTOPES; CHALCOGENIDES; DATA; EVEN-ODD NUCLEI; HALOGENATED ALIPHATIC HYDROCARBONS; HELIUM ISOTOPES; HYDROGEN ISOTOPES; INFORMATION; ISOTOPE APPLICATIONS; ISOTOPES; LIGHT NUCLEI; MATERIALS; NUCLEI; NUMERICAL DATA; ODD-EVEN NUCLEI; ORGANIC COMPOUNDS; ORGANIC HALOGEN COMPOUNDS; OXIDES; OXYGEN COMPOUNDS; POLLUTANTS; RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS; RADIOISOTOPES; STABLE ISOTOPES; SURFACE WATERS; WASTES; YEARS LIVING RADIOISOTOPES; 520200* - Environment, Aquatic- Chemicals Monitoring & Transport- (-1989); 520101 - Environment, Aquatic- Basic Studies- Radiometric Techniques- (-1989); 500200 - Environment, Atmospheric- Chemicals Monitoring & Transport- (-1989); 052002 - Nuclear Fuels- Waste Disposal & Storage

Citation Formats

Shepherd, J G, and Broecker, W S. Feasibility of large scale deliberate tracer release experiments in or below the oceanic thermocline. United States: N. p., 1981. Web. doi:10.2172/6599484.
Shepherd, J G, & Broecker, W S. Feasibility of large scale deliberate tracer release experiments in or below the oceanic thermocline. United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/6599484
Shepherd, J G, and Broecker, W S. Sun . "Feasibility of large scale deliberate tracer release experiments in or below the oceanic thermocline". United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/6599484. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/6599484.
@article{osti_6599484,
title = {Feasibility of large scale deliberate tracer release experiments in or below the oceanic thermocline},
author = {Shepherd, J G and Broecker, W S},
abstractNote = {The relative importance of lateral and vertical mixing in the interior of the oceans cannot be reliably determined from conventional oceanographic measurements, nor from observations of fallout radionuclides. It is suggested that the problem could be most effectively studied by an experiment in which a large quantity of a suitable tracer was deliberately released in deep water, and its subsequent dispersion was followed for at least one year. The feasibility of such an experiment is examined. It is concluded that it is indeed feasible, and that helium-3 would be the most suitable tracer, with tritium as a possible alternative. About 30 g f Helium-3 would be needed for each release. Such a quantity may be dissoled in about 1 m/sup 3/ of water at pressures greater than 500 dbar, is easily available, and would cost about $100K. Concentrations would have fallen to unmeasurable levels by the time the patch had spread sufficiently to interfere with measurements of natural or radiogenic helium-3. The patch would need to be marked with dusters of neutrally buoyant floats in order that its movement may be followed. It is estimated that it would be around 1000 km across after one year, and anything from a few meters to a few hundred meters thick. Vertically integrating samples would probably be most suitable, used in conjunction with ship-board helium-3 mass spectrometer. Methods of dissolving the helium in situ, and making the release with minimum disturbance are also proposed. The cost would be several million dollars, spread over several years.},
doi = {10.2172/6599484},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/6599484}, journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {1981},
month = {2}
}