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The RV Knorr operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is shown above departing Fremantle, Australia for the beginning of the WOCE Indian Ocean expedition.
Some of the early Pacific Ocean results from the WOCE radiocarbon program are shown below. These results are preliminary and proprietary. Please contact R. Key before using any of these figures. For a recent short article see Changes in the Pacific Ocean Distribution of Radiocarbon which was published in the 1997 U.S. WOCE Report.
FIGURE1 shows the Pacific and Indian Ocean stations which were sampled for radiocarbon as part of the U.S. WOCE program. Three additional meridional sections (not shown) were sampled in the North Atlantic, however the station density along those lines is not as high as shown here. Additional lines were sampled by the Australian, Canadian, French, German, and Japanese WOCE programs. Globally, the WOCE program increased the total number of oceanic radiocarbon stations and samples by an order of magnitude over what existed previously.
FIGURE2 shows a full depth section of radiocarbon along 135W (WOCE section P17) in the tropical Pacific Ocean. The solid black dots indicate small volume samples (~250ml) that were analyzed by the accelerator mass spectrometry technique (AMS) and the white squares indicate large volume samples (~200l) that were analyzed by the trational beta-counting technique. The colors and contour lines carry the same information. Note the change in depth scale at 1000m.
FIGURE3 shows an objective map of the radiocarbon distribution at 200 meters in the tropical Pacific. The 75 stations used for this map are from WOCE sections P13, P16, P17 and P19. Additional results will soon be available from sections P10, P18 and P19. Once those data are available we will be able to generate maps with significantly less smoothing than shown here.
FIGURE4 shows an objective map of the radiocarbon distribution near the ocean floor for the Pacific. The depth of the contoured surface changes over the map, but is everywhere at least 3500m deep. For each station shown a sample was measured within 200m of the bottom. Regions with no data or where the bottom depth is less than 3500m are masked in grey. The red color clearly indicates the path followed by circumpolar bottom water as it moves northward.
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