Magazine article Oceanus

Tracking Radium in the Arctic: A Conversation with Mit/whoi Graduate Student Jessica Dabrowski

Magazine article Oceanus

Tracking Radium in the Arctic: A Conversation with Mit/whoi Graduate Student Jessica Dabrowski

Article excerpt

Jessica Dabrowski is an ocean chemist and graduate student in the MIT/WHOI Joint Program. She is studying the impact of climate change and seasonal cycles on the Arctic Ocean as radium concentrations change in the water.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH IN THE ARCTIC

This cruise was led by WHOI physical oceanographer Bob Pickart to the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas north of Alaska. I used a method involving the tracking of water with radium isotopes to see how much water is moving from the shallow area near the coast, entering or crossing the shelf-break jet, and entering the deep ocean.

Radium comes from sediments and soils and rocks. When radium enters seawater it dissolves and travels with the water. It doesn't react with much and there is little biological consumption of radium, so it doesn't really change over the shorter time scales I'm interested in. We call it a tracer because it allows us to trace the processes and movement of the water and all it carries with it. …

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