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Publication Title | Analysis of deep-water exchange in the Caspian Sea based on environmental tracers

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Author's copy, original version published in Deep-Sea Res., 2000

Deep-Sea Research I 47 (2000) 621}654

Analysis of deep-water exchange in the Caspian Sea based on environmental tracers

F. Peeters *, R. Kipfer , D. Achermann , M. Hofer , W. Aeschbach-Hertig , U. Beyerle , D.M. Imboden , K. Rozanski , K. FroK hlich

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), CH-8600 Du( bendorf, Switzerland

Swiss Federal Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (EAWAG), CH-8600 Du( bendorf, Switzerland Faculty of Physics and Nuclear Techniques, University of Mining and Metallurgy, Krakow, Poland International Atomic Energy Agency, Department of Research and Isotopes, Vienna, Austria

Received 24 June 1998; received in revised form 15 June 1999; accepted 15 June 1999

Abstract

In order to quantify deep-water exchange in the Caspian Sea, the world's largest inland water body, water samples were analyzed for the transient tracers H, He, He, CFC-11, CFC-12 and atmospheric noble gases. Measurements of temperature, salinity (calculated from conductivity for the ionic composition of Caspian Sea water), and dissolved oxygen were employed to investigate the processes responsible for deep-water renewal. The Caspian Sea consists of two deep basins, the southern and central basins, separated by a sill, and a shallow northern basin. The deep water (below 200 m) accounts for almost 60% of the total water mass. Below 200 m the concentrations of H and He are much lower in the southern basin than at the same depths in the central basin, but this is not the case for either of the CFCs. However, apparent water ages calculated from H} He and from CFC-12 concentrations are the same for the deep water of the southern and central basins, and yield deep-water exchange rates of approximately 7% per year for each of the two basins. This implies volume #uxes across the 200-m level of about 2220 km yr’ within the southern basin and 770 km yr’ within the central basin. Based on the apparent water ages, the oxygen depletion in the deep water is estimated to be about 0.35 mg l’ yr’ . The processes responsible for deep-water exchange have not yet been iden- ti"ed conclusively. However, vertical temperature and salinity gradients observed during two expeditions, in September 1995 and 1996, suggest that within the southern and central basins large-scale convection cannot be triggered by seasonal cooling alone, but requires the surface water to be cold/saline or to contain high suspended sediment loads. In the central basin the increase in salinity occurring during ice formation in early winter is possibly su$cient to cause

* Corresponding author. Fax: 0041-1-823-5210. E-mail address: peeters@eawag.ch (F. Peeters)

0967-0637/00/$ - see front matter 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. PII: S0967-0637(99)00066-7

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