Earth Institute Research Projects

Collaborative Research: US GEOTRACES Arctic Section - Water mass composition, circulation and mean residence times derived from measurements of natural and manmade tracers

Lead PI: Prof. Peter Schlosser , Dr. William Massie Smethie , Mr. Robert Newton

Unit Affiliation: Geochemistry, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

January 2015 - December 2019
Arctic Ocean
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: In this project, investigators participating in the 2015 U.S. GEOTRACES Arctic expedition will measure six oceanic tracers in order to better understand oceanic water movement in the Arctic Ocean. With this information in-hand, it will be much easier for other investigators to interpret their own seawater chemistry data. In common with other national initiatives in the International GEOTRACES Program, the goals of the U.S. Arctic expedition are to identify processes and quantify fluxes that control the distributions of key trace elements and isotopes in the ocean, and to establish the sensitivity of these distributions to changing environmental conditions. Some trace elements are essential to life, others are known biological toxins, and still others are important because they can be used as tracers of a variety of physical, chemical, and biological processes in the sea. The tracers to be measured as part of this study have proven their value for studies of water mass composition, circulation, and mean residence times on short to long time scales. This project will also provide training for two high school teachers, and develop curriculum for high school students.


National Science Foundation (NSF)





Rajasakaren, B., E. Jeansson, A. Olsen, T. Tanhua, T, Johannessen, W.M. Smethie Jr.. "Trends in anthropogenic carbon in the Arctic Ocean," Progress in Oceanography, v.178, 2019.


isotopes education