THE WET DEPOSITION OF TRACE METALS TO THE WESTERN ATLANTIC OCEAN AT THE MID-ATLANTIC COAST AND ON BERMUDA

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Abstract

The concentration of the trace metals Cd, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, V and Zn has been measured in atmospheric precipitation events at the middle Atlantic coast (Lewes, DE) and on the western Atlantic island of Bermuda. The purpose is to assess the sources, transport, and wet deposition of trace metals to the western Atlantic during non-summer months when trace metals are likely to be transported by westerly air mass flow from N America to the open Atlantic. The concentrations, and wet deposition of trace metals are greater at the coast than on Bermuda, and the other at both sites (Fe > Zn > Pb > Cu, Mn, Ni > V > Cd) is similar. The trace metal enrichment factors for all metals but Mn, based on crustal Fe, are significantly greater than unity, and the order (Cd > Pb > Zn > Cu > Ni > V) is also the same at the coast as on Bermuda. This evidence suggests common sources from North America for trace metals in western Atlantic precipitation and important atmospheric transport of trace metals to the Atlantic Ocean. Calculations using enrichment factors from sea salt aerosol (Na based) indicate recycling of trace metals from the sea surface, while generally considered not to be important, could be a potentially significant process contributing to Mn and V enrichments in open western Atlantic precipitation.

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