Seltzer Alan M.

No Thumbnail Available
Last Name
Seltzer
First Name
Alan M.
ORCID
0000-0003-2870-1215

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 12 of 12
  • Article
    Retrieving a “Weather Balloon” from the last Ice Age
    (American Geophysical Union, 2022-08-17) Seltzer, Alan M. ; Tyne, Rebecca L.
    “How cold was the last ice age?” is a question that paleoclimate scientists have been trying to answer for decades. Constraining the magnitude of climate change since the Last Glacial Maximum (∼20,000 years ago) can help improve our understanding of Earth's climate sensitivity and, therefore enhance our ability to predict future change (Tierney et al., 2020). Of course, there is no single answer to this question: there is spatial structure to LGM temperature change that is linked to fundamental climate system properties and processes. Consequently, paleoclimate scientists have focused on variations of this question, like “What was the latitudinal gradient of LGM temperature change?” (Chiang et al., 2003), “What was the land-sea contrast?” (Rind & Peteet, 1985) or “What was the change in ocean heat content?” (Bereiter et al., 2018). These questions inform large-scale atmospheric and oceanic circulation, the intensity of the water cycle, and planetary energy balance; the answers to these questions come from proxies like planktic and benthic foraminifera, speleothems, ice cores, pollen records, ancient groundwater, lake sediments, and glacial moraines, to name a few. In short, the paleoclimate community has developed a proxy “tool kit” equipped to map changes across the Earth's surface and into the ocean interior; but, until now, no “tool” existed for the upper atmosphere.
  • Dataset
    Elemental and isotopic noble gas ratios from the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series (BATS) on cruise 10391 on R/V Atlantic Explorer (AE2208) from 30 April 2022 to 05 May 2022
    (Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office (BCO-DMO). Contact: bco-dmo-data@whoi.edu, 2023-02-24) Seltzer, Alan M. ; Barry, Peter ; Jenkins, William J. ; Khatiwala, Samar ; Nicholson, David P. ; Smethie Jr., William M. ; Stanley, Rachel ; Stute, Martin
    This dataset includes new observations of heavy noble gas ratios (elemental and isotopic ratios) from the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series (BATS) on cruise 10391 on R/V Atlantic Explorer (AE2208) from 30 April 2022 - 05 May 2022. These data were used, along with measurements of Kr/Ar and N2/Ar ratios in stored dissolved gas samples from the Transient Tracers in the Ocean (TTO) program, to model simulations of these tracers using the Transport Matrix Method (TMM). Together these new measurements and model simulations provide insight into physical processes governing gas exchange in the high-latitude regions of North Atlantic Deep Water formation, and a comparison of physical simulations of N2/Ar ratios to observations in TTO samples reveals excess N2 that arises from benthic denitrification in the deep North Atlantic. For a complete list of measurements, refer to the full dataset description in the supplemental file 'Dataset_description.pdf'. The most current version of this dataset is available at: https://www.bco-dmo.org/dataset/890342
  • Dataset
    Measurements of Kr/Ar and N2/Ar ratios in stored dissolved gas samples collected in 1981 through the Transient Tracers in the Ocean (TTO) program North Atlantic Survey (NAS)
    (Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office (BCO-DMO). Contact: bco-dmo-data@whoi.edu, 2023-02-24) Seltzer, Alan M. ; Barry, Peter ; Jenkins, William J. ; Khatiwala, Samar ; Nicholson, David P. ; Smethie Jr., William M. ; Stanley, Rachel ; Stute, Martin
    This dataset includes measurements of Kr/Ar and N2/Ar ratios in stored dissolved gas samples collected in 1981 through the Transient Tracers in the Ocean (TTO) program. These data were used, along with new observations of heavy noble gas ratios (elemental and isotopic ratios) from the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series (BATS) on cruise 10391 (30 April 2022 - 05 May 2022), to model simulations of these tracers using the Transport Matrix Method (TMM). Together these new measurements and model simulations provide insight into physical processes governing gas exchange in the high-latitude regions of North Atlantic Deep Water formation, and a comparison of physical simulations of N2/Ar ratios to observations in TTO samples reveals excess N2 that arises from benthic denitrification in the deep North Atlantic. For a complete list of measurements, refer to the full dataset description in the supplemental file 'Dataset_description.pdf'. The most current version of this dataset is available at: https://www.bco-dmo.org/dataset/890427
  • Article
    Groundwater residence time estimates obscured by anthropogenic carbonate
    (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2021-04-21) Seltzer, Alan M. ; Bekaert, David V. ; Barry, Peter H. ; Durkin, Kathryn E. ; Mace, Emily K. ; Aalseth, Craig E. ; Zappala, Jake C. ; Mueller, Peter ; Jurgens, Bryant C. ; Kulongoski, Justin T.
    Groundwater is an important source of drinking and irrigation water. Dating groundwater informs its vulnerability to contamination and aids in calibrating flow models. Here, we report measurements of multiple age tracers (14C, 3H, 39Ar, and 85Kr) and parameters relevant to dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) from 17 wells in California’s San Joaquin Valley (SJV), an agricultural region that is heavily reliant on groundwater. We find evidence for a major mid-20th century shift in groundwater DIC input from mostly closed- to mostly open-system carbonate dissolution, which we suggest is driven by input of anthropogenic carbonate soil amendments. Crucially, enhanced open-system dissolution, in which DIC equilibrates with soil CO2, fundamentally affects the initial 14C activity of recently recharged groundwater. Conventional 14C dating of deeper SJV groundwater, assuming an open system, substantially overestimates residence time and thereby underestimates susceptibility to modern contamination. Because carbonate soil amendments are ubiquitous, other groundwater-reliant agricultural regions may be similarly affected.
  • Article
    High (3)He/(4)He in central Panama reveals a distal connection to the Galápagos plume
    (National Academy of Sciences, 2021-11-23) Bekaert, David V. ; Gazel, Esteban ; Turner, Stephen ; Behn, Mark D. ; de Moor, J. Maarten ; Zahirovic, Sabin ; Manea, Vlad C. ; Hoernle, Kaj A. ; Fischer, Tobias P. ; Hammerstrom, Alexander ; Seltzer, Alan M. ; Kulongoski, Justin T. ; Patel, Bina S. ; Schrenk, Matthew O. ; Halldórsson, Saemundur ; Nakagawa, Mayuko ; Ramírez, Carlos J. ; Krantz, John A. ; Yucel, Mustafa ; Ballentine, Christopher J. ; Giovannelli, Donato ; Lloyd, Karen G. ; Barry, Peter H.
    It is well established that mantle plumes are the main conduits for upwelling geochemically enriched material from Earth's deep interior. The fashion and extent to which lateral flow processes at shallow depths may disperse enriched mantle material far (>1,000 km) from vertical plume conduits, however, remain poorly constrained. Here, we report He and C isotope data from 65 hydrothermal fluids from the southern Central America Margin (CAM) which reveal strikingly high 3He/4He (up to 8.9RA) in low-temperature (≤50 °C) geothermal springs of central Panama that are not associated with active volcanism. Following radiogenic correction, these data imply a mantle source 3He/4He >10.3RA (and potentially up to 26RA, similar to Galápagos hotspot lavas) markedly greater than the upper mantle range (8 ± 1RA). Lava geochemistry (Pb isotopes, Nb/U, and Ce/Pb) and geophysical constraints show that high 3He/4He values in central Panama are likely derived from the infiltration of a Galápagos plume–like mantle through a slab window that opened ∼8 Mya. Two potential transport mechanisms can explain the connection between the Galápagos plume and the slab window: 1) sublithospheric transport of Galápagos plume material channeled by lithosphere thinning along the Panama Fracture Zone or 2) active upwelling of Galápagos plume material blown by a “mantle wind” toward the CAM. We present a model of global mantle flow that supports the second mechanism, whereby most of the eastward transport of Galápagos plume material occurs in the shallow asthenosphere. These findings underscore the potential for lateral mantle flow to transport mantle geochemical heterogeneities thousands of kilometers away from plume conduits.
  • Article
    The helium and carbon isotope characteristics of the Andean Convergent Margin
    (Frontiers Media, 2022-06-13) Barry, Peter H. ; de Moor, J. Maarten ; Chiodi, Agostina ; Aguilera, Felipe ; Hudak, Michael R. ; Bekaert, David V. ; Turner, Stephen ; Curtice, Joshua ; Seltzer, Alan M. ; Jessen, Gerdhard L. ; Osses, Esteban ; Blamey, Jenny M. ; Amenabar, Maximiliano J. ; Selci, Matteo ; Cascone, Martina ; Bastianoni, Alessia ; Nakagawa, Mayuko ; Filipovich, Rubén ; Bustos, Emilce ; Schrenk, Matthew O. ; Buongiorno, Joy ; Ramirez, Carlos J. ; Rogers, Timothy J. ; Lloyd, Karen G. ; Giovannelli, Donato
    Subduction zones represent the interface between Earth’s interior (crust and mantle) and exterior (atmosphere and oceans), where carbon and other volatile elements are actively cycled between Earth reservoirs by plate tectonics. Helium is a sensitive tracer of volatile sources and can be used to deconvolute mantle and crustal sources in arcs; however it is not thought to be recycled into the mantle by subduction processes. In contrast, carbon is readily recycled, mostly in the form of carbon-rich sediments, and can thus be used to understand volatile delivery via subduction. Further, carbon is chemically-reactive and isotope fractionation can be used to determine the main processes controlling volatile movements within arc systems. Here, we report helium isotope and abundance data for 42 deeply-sourced fluid and gas samples from the Central Volcanic Zone (CVZ) and Southern Volcanic Zone (SVZ) of the Andean Convergent Margin (ACM). Data are used to assess the influence of subduction parameters (e.g., crustal thickness, subduction inputs, and convergence rate) on the composition of volatiles in surface volcanic fluid and gas emissions. He isotopes from the CVZ backarc range from 0.1 to 2.6 RA (n = 23), with the highest values in the Puna and the lowest in the Sub-Andean foreland fold-and-thrust belt. Atmosphere-corrected He isotopes from the SVZ range from 0.7 to 5.0 RA (n = 19). Taken together, these data reveal a clear southeastward increase in 3He/4He, with the highest values (in the SVZ) falling below the nominal range associated with pure upper mantle helium (8 ± 1 RA), approaching the mean He isotope value for arc gases of (5.4 ± 1.9 RA). Notably, the lowest values are found in the CVZ, suggesting more significant crustal inputs (i.e., assimilation of 4He) to the helium budget. The crustal thickness in the CVZ (up to 70 km) is significantly larger than in the SVZ, where it is just ∼40 km. We suggest that crustal thickness exerts a primary control on the extent of fluid-crust interaction, as helium and other volatiles rise through the upper plate in the ACM. We also report carbon isotopes from (n = 11) sites in the CVZ, where δ13C varies between −15.3‰ and −1.2‰ [vs. Vienna Pee Dee Belemnite (VPDB)] and CO2/3He values that vary by over two orders of magnitude (6.9 × 108–1.7 × 1011). In the SVZ, carbon isotope ratios are also reported from (n = 13) sites and vary between −17.2‰ and −4.1‰. CO2/3He values vary by over four orders of magnitude (4.7 × 107–1.7 × 1012). Low δ13C and CO2/3He values are consistent with CO2 removal (e.g., calcite precipitation and gas dissolution) in shallow hydrothermal systems. Carbon isotope fractionation modeling suggests that calcite precipitation occurs at temperatures coincident with the upper temperature limit for life (122°C), suggesting that biology may play a role in C-He systematics of arc-related volcanic fluid and gas emissions.
  • Dataset
    Model simulations of elemental and isotopic heavy noble gas ratios using the Transport Matrix Method (TMM)
    (Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office (BCO-DMO). Contact: bco-dmo-data@whoi.edu, 2023-02-24) Seltzer, Alan M. ; Barry, Peter ; Jenkins, William J. ; Khatiwala, Samar ; Nicholson, David P. ; Smethie Jr., William M. ; Stanley, Rachel ; Stute, Martin
    This dataset includes model simulations of the following tracers using the Transport Matrix Method (TMM): (i) new observations of heavy noble gas ratios (elemental and isotopic ratios) from the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series (BATS) on cruise 10391 (30 April 2022 - 05 May 2022), and (ii) measurements of Kr/Ar and N2/Ar ratios in stored dissolved gas samples collected in 1981 through the Transient Tracers in the Ocean (TTO) program. Together these measurements and model simulations provide insight into physical processes governing gas exchange in the high-latitude regions of North Atlantic Deep Water formation, and a comparison of physical simulations of N2/Ar ratios to observations in TTO samples reveals excess N2 that arises from benthic denitrification in the deep North Atlantic. For a complete list of measurements, refer to the full dataset description in the supplemental file 'Dataset_description.pdf'. The most current version of this dataset is available at: https://www.bco-dmo.org/dataset/890293
  • Article
    Dissolved gases in the deep North Atlantic track ocean ventilation processes
    (National Academy of Sciences, 2023-03-14) Seltzer, Alan M. ; Nicholson, David P. ; Smethie, William M. ; Tyne, Rebecca L. ; Le Roy, Emilie ; Stanley, Rachel H. R. ; Stute, Martin ; Barry, Peter H. ; McPaul, Katelyn ; Davidson, Perrin W. ; Chang, Bonnie X. ; Rafter, Patrick A. ; Lethaby, Paul ; Johnson, Rod J. ; Khatiwala, Samar ; Jenkins, William J.
    Gas exchange between the atmosphere and ocean interior profoundly impacts global climate and biogeochemistry. However, our understanding of the relevant physical processes remains limited by a scarcity of direct observations. Dissolved noble gases in the deep ocean are powerful tracers of physical air-sea interaction due to their chemical and biological inertness, yet their isotope ratios have remained underexplored. Here, we present high-precision noble gas isotope and elemental ratios from the deep North Atlantic (~32°N, 64°W) to evaluate gas exchange parameterizations using an ocean circulation model. The unprecedented precision of these data reveal deep-ocean undersaturation of heavy noble gases and isotopes resulting from cooling-driven air-to-sea gas transport associated with deep convection in the northern high latitudes. Our data also imply an underappreciated and large role for bubble-mediated gas exchange in the global air-sea transfer of sparingly soluble gases, including O, N, and SF. Using noble gases to validate the physical representation of air-sea gas exchange in a model also provides a unique opportunity to distinguish physical from biogeochemical signals. As a case study, we compare dissolved N/Ar measurements in the deep North Atlantic to physics-only model predictions, revealing excess N from benthic denitrification in older deep waters (below 2.9 km). These data indicate that the rate of fixed N removal in the deep Northeastern Atlantic is at least three times higher than the global deep-ocean mean, suggesting tight coupling with organic carbon export and raising potential future implications for the marine N cycle.
  • Article
    Terrestrial amplification of past, present, and future climate change
    (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2023-02-08) Seltzer, Alan M ; Blard, Pierre-Henri ; Sherwood, Steven C ; Kageyama, Masa
    Terrestrial amplification (TA) of land warming relative to oceans is apparent in recent climatic observations. TA results from land-sea coupling of moisture and heat and is therefore important for predicting future warming and water availability. However, the theoretical basis for TA has never been tested outside the short instrumental period, and the spatial pattern and amplitude of TA remain uncertain. Here, we investigate TA during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; ~20 thousand years) in the low latitudes, where the theory is most applicable. We find remarkable consistency between paleotemperature proxies, theory, and climate model simulations of both LGM and future climates. Paleoclimate data thus provide crucial new support for TA, refining the range of future low-latitude, low-elevation TA to [Formula: see text] (95% confidence interval), i.e., land warming ~40% more than oceans. The observed data model theory agreement helps reconcile LGM marine and terrestrial paleotemperature proxies, with implications for equilibrium climate sensitivity.
  • Article
    The new Kr-86 excess ice core proxy for synoptic activity: West Antarctic storminess possibly linked to Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) movement through the last deglaciation
    (European Geosciences Union, 2023-03-15) Buizert, Christo ; Shackleton, Sarah ; Severinghaus, Jeffrey P. ; Roberts, William H. G. ; Seltzer, Alan ; Bereiter, Bernhard ; Kawamura, Kenji ; Baggenstos, Daniel ; Orsi,Anaïs J. ; Oyabu, Ikumi ; Birner, Benjamin ; Morgan, Jacob D. ; Brook, Edward J. ; Etheridge, David M. ; Thornton, David ; Bertler, Nancy ; Pyne, Rebecca L. ; Mulvaney, Robert ; Mosley-Thompson, Ellen ; Neff, Peter D. ; Petrenko, Vasilii V.
    Here we present a newly developed ice core gas-phase proxy that directly samples a component of the large-scale atmospheric circulation: synoptic-scale pressure variability. Surface pressure changes weakly disrupt gravitational isotopic settling in the firn layer, which is recorded in krypton-86 excess (86Krxs). The 86Krxs may therefore reflect the time-averaged synoptic pressure variability over several years (site “storminess”), but it likely cannot record individual synoptic events as ice core gas samples typically average over several years. We validate 86Krxs using late Holocene ice samples from 11 Antarctic ice cores and 1 Greenland ice core that collectively represent a wide range of surface pressure variability in the modern climate. We find a strong spatial correlation (r=-0.94, p<0.01) between site average 86Krxs and time-averaged synoptic variability from reanalysis data. The main uncertainties in the analysis are the corrections for gas loss and thermal fractionation and the relatively large scatter in the data. Limited scientific understanding of the firn physics and potential biases of 86Krxs require caution in interpreting this proxy at present. We show that Antarctic 86Krxs appears to be linked to the position of the Southern Hemisphere eddy-driven subpolar jet (SPJ), with a southern position enhancing pressure variability.We present a 86Krxs record covering the last 24 kyr from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide ice core. Based on the empirical spatial correlation of synoptic activity and 86Krxs at various Antarctic sites, we interpret this record to show that West Antarctic synoptic activity is slightly below modern levels during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), increases during the Heinrich Stadial 1 and Younger Dryas North Atlantic cold periods, weakens abruptly at the Holocene onset, remains low during the early and mid-Holocene, and gradually increases to its modern value. The WAIS Divide 86Krxs record resembles records of monsoon intensity thought to reflect changes in the meridional position of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) on orbital and millennial timescales such that West Antarctic storminess is weaker when the ITCZ is displaced northward and stronger when it is displaced southward. We interpret variations in synoptic activity as reflecting movement of the South Pacific SPJ in parallel to the ITCZ migrations, which is the expected zonal mean response of the eddy-driven jet in models and proxy data. Past changes to Pacific climate and the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) may amplify the signal of the SPJ migration. Our interpretation is broadly consistent with opal flux records from the Pacific Antarctic zone thought to reflect wind-driven upwelling.We emphasize that 86Krxs is a new proxy, and more work is called for to confirm, replicate, and better understand these results; until such time, our conclusions regarding past atmospheric dynamics remain speculative. Current scientific understanding of firn air transport and trapping is insufficient to explain all the observed variations in 86Krxs. A list of suggested future studies is provided.
  • Article
    Ultrahigh-precision noble gas isotope analyses reveal pervasive subsurface fractionation in hydrothermal systems
    (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2023-03-16) Bekaert, David V. ; Barry, Peter H. ; Broadley, Michael W. ; Byrne, David J. ; Marty, Bernard ; Ramírez, Carlos J. ; de Moor, J Maarten ; Rodriguez, Alejandro ; Hudak, Michael R. ; Subhas, Adam V. ; Halldórsson, Saemundur A. ; Stefánsson, Andri ; Caracausi, Antonio ; Lloyd, Karen G. ; Giovannelli, Donato ; Seltzer, Alan M.
    Mantle-derived noble gases in volcanic gases are powerful tracers of terrestrial volatile evolution, as they contain mixtures of both primordial (from Earth's accretion) and secondary (e.g., radiogenic) isotope signals that characterize the composition of deep Earth. However, volcanic gases emitted through subaerial hydrothermal systems also contain contributions from shallow reservoirs (groundwater, crust, atmosphere). Deconvolving deep and shallow source signals is critical for robust interpretations of mantle-derived signals. Here, we use a novel dynamic mass spectrometry technique to measure argon, krypton, and xenon isotopes in volcanic gas with ultrahigh precision. Data from Iceland, Germany, United States (Yellowstone, Salton Sea), Costa Rica, and Chile show that subsurface isotope fractionation within hydrothermal systems is a globally pervasive and previously unrecognized process causing substantial nonradiogenic Ar-Kr-Xe isotope variations. Quantitatively accounting for this process is vital for accurately interpreting mantle-derived volatile (e.g., noble gas and nitrogen) signals, with profound implications for our understanding of terrestrial volatile evolution.
  • Article
    Helium, inorganic and organic carbon isotopes of fluids and gases across the Costa Rica convergent margin
    (Nature Research, 2019-11-25) Barry, Peter H. ; Nakagawa, Mayuko ; Giovannelli, Donato ; de Moor, J. Maarten ; Schrenk, Matthew O. ; Seltzer, Alan M. ; Manini, Elena ; Fattorini, Daniele ; di Carlo, Marta ; Regoli, Francesco ; Fullerton, Katherine ; Lloyd, Karen G.
    In 2017, fluid and gas samples were collected across the Costa Rican Arc. He and Ne isotopes, C isotopes as well as total organic and inorganic carbon concentrations were measured. The samples (n = 24) from 2017 are accompanied by (n = 17) samples collected in 2008, 2010 and 2012. He-isotopes ranged from arc-like (6.8 RA) to crustal (0.5 RA). Measured dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) δ13CVPDB values varied from 3.55 to −21.57‰, with dissolved organic carbon (DOC) following the trends of DIC. Gas phase CO2 only occurs within ~20 km of the arc; δ13CVPDB values varied from −0.84 to −5.23‰. Onsite, pH, conductivity, temperature and dissolved oxygen (DO) were measured; pH ranged from 0.9–10.0, conductivity from 200–91,900 μS/cm, temperatures from 23–89 °C and DO from 2–84%. Data were used to develop a model which suggests that ~91 ± 4.0% of carbon released from the slab/mantle beneath the Costa Rican forearc is sequestered within the crust by calcite deposition with an additional 3.3 ± 1.3% incorporated into autotrophic biomass.