Ocean Sci. Discuss., 8, 1441-1466, 2011
www.ocean-sci-discuss.net/8/1441/2011/
doi:10.5194/osd-8-1441-2011
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Ocean Science (OS). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in OS.
Tracer distribution in the Pacific Ocean following a release off Japan – what does an oceanic general circulation model tell us?
H. Dietze and I. Kriest
IFM-GEOMAR, Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, 24105 Kiel, Germany

Abstract. In the aftermath of an earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011 considerable amounts of radioactive materials were accidentally released into the sea off Fukushima-Daiichi, Japan. This study uses a three-dimensional eddy-resolving oceanic general circulation model to explore potential pathways of a tracer, similar to 137Cs, from the coast to the open ocean. Results indicate that enhanced concentrations meet a receding spring bloom offshore and that the area of enhanced concentrations offshore is strongly determined by surface mixed layer dynamics. However, huge uncertainties remain. Among them are the realism of the simulated cross-shelf transport and apparently inconsistent estimates of the particle reactivity of 137Cs which are discussed in a brief literature review. We argue that a comprehensive set of 137Cs measurements, including sites offshore, could be a unique opportunity to both evaluate and advance the evaluation of oceanic general circulation models.

Citation: Dietze, H. and Kriest, I.: Tracer distribution in the Pacific Ocean following a release off Japan – what does an oceanic general circulation model tell us?, Ocean Sci. Discuss., 8, 1441-1466, doi:10.5194/osd-8-1441-2011, 2011.
 
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