Tamborski Joseph

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  • Article
    Radium isotopes as submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) tracers: review and recommendations
    (Elsevier, 2021-05-14) Garcia-Orellana, Jordi ; Rodellas, Valenti ; Tamborski, Joseph ; Diego-Feliu, Marc ; van Beek, Pieter ; Weinstein, Yishai ; Charette, Matthew A. ; Alorda-Kleinglass, Aaron ; Michael, Holly A. ; Stieglitz, Thomas ; Scholten, Jan C.
    Submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) is now recognized as an important process of the hydrological cycle worldwide and plays a major role as a conveyor of dissolved compounds to the ocean. Naturally occurring radium isotopes (223Ra, 224Ra, 226Ra and 228Ra) are widely employed geochemical tracers in marine environments. Whilst Ra isotopes were initially predominantly applied to study open ocean processes and fluxes across the continental margins, their most common application in the marine environment has undoubtedly become the identification and quantification of SGD. This review focuses on the application of Ra isotopes as tracers of SGD and associated inputs of water and solutes to the coastal ocean. In addition, we review i) the processes controlling Ra enrichment and depletion in coastal groundwater and seawater; ii) the systematics applied to estimate SGD using Ra isotopes and iii) we summarize additional applications of Ra isotopes in groundwater and marine studies. We also provide some considerations that will help refine SGD estimates and identify the critical knowledge gaps and research needs related to the current use of Ra isotopes as SGD tracers.
  • Article
    Conceptual uncertainties in groundwater and porewater fluxes estimated by radon and radium mass balances
    (Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, 2021-01-08) Rodellas, Valenti ; Stieglitz, Thomas ; Tamborski, Joseph ; van Beek, Pieter ; Andrisoa, Aladin ; Cook, Peter G.
    Radium isotopes and radon are routinely used as tracers to quantify groundwater and porewater fluxes into coastal and freshwater systems. However, uncertainties associated with the determination of the tracer flux are often poorly addressed and often neglect all the potential errors associated with the conceptualization of the system (i.e., conceptual uncertainties). In this study, we assess the magnitude of some of the key uncertainties related to the determination of the radium and radon inputs supplied by groundwater and porewater fluxes into a waterbody (La Palme Lagoon, France). This uncertainty assessment is addressed through a single model ensemble approach, where a tracer mass balance is run multiple times with variable sets of assumptions and approaches for the key parameters determined through a sensitivity test. In particular, conceptual uncertainties linked to tracer concentration, diffusive fluxes, radon evasion to the atmosphere, and change of tracer inventory over time were considered. The magnitude of porewater fluxes is further constrained using a comparison of independent methods: (1) 224Ra and (2) 222Rn mass balances in overlying waters, (3) a model of 222Rn deficit in sediments, and (4) a fluid‐salt numerical transport model. We demonstrate that conceptual uncertainties are commonly a major source of uncertainty on the estimation of groundwater or porewater fluxes and they need to be taken into account when using tracer mass balances. In the absence of a general framework for assessing these uncertainties, this study provides a practical approach to evaluate key uncertainties associated to radon and radium mass balances.
  • Article
    Guidelines and limits for the quantification of ra isotopes and related radionuclides with the radium delayed coincidence counter (RaDeCC)
    (American Geophysical Union, 2020-03-27) Diego-Feliu, Marc ; Rodellas, Valenti ; Alorda-Kleinglass, Aaron ; Tamborski, Joseph ; van Beek, Pieter ; Heins, L. ; Bruach, Joan Manuel ; Arnold, Ralph ; Garcia-Orellana, Jordi
    The Radium Delayed Coincidence Counter (RaDeCC) is one of the most extensively used equipment for measuring 223Ra and 224Ra activities in water and sediment samples. Samples are placed in a closed He‐circulation system that carries the Rn produced by the decay of Ra to a scintillation cell. Each alpha decay recorded in the cell is routed to an electronic delayed coincidence system which enables the discrimination of 223Ra and 224Ra. In this study, the measurement and quantification methods using the RaDeCC system are assessed through analyses of registered data in different RaDeCC systems worldwide and a set of simulations. Results of this work indicate that the equations used to correct for 223Ra and 224Ra cross‐talk interferences are only valid for a given range of activities and ratios between isotopes. Above certain limits that are specified in this study, these corrections may significantly overestimate the quantification of 223Ra and 224Ra activities (up to ~40% and 30%, respectively), as well as the quantification of their parents 227Ac and 228Th. High activities of 226Ra may also produce an overestimation of 224Ra activities due to the buildup of 222Rn, especially when long measurements with low activities of 224Ra are performed. An improved method to quantify 226Ra activities from the buildup of 222Rn with the RaDeCC system is also developed in this study. Wethus provide a new set of guidelines for the appropriate quantification of 223Ra, 224Ra, 227Ac, 228Th, and 226Ra with the RaDeCC system.
  • Article
    Radium mass balance sensitivity analysis for submarine groundwater discharge estimation in semi-enclosed basins: the case study of Long Island Sound
    (Frontiers Media, 2020-07-17) Tamborski, Joseph ; Cochran, J. Kirk ; Bokuniewicz, Henry J. ; Heilbrun, Christina ; Garcia-Orellana, Jordi ; Rodellas, Valenti ; Wilson, Robert
    Estimation of submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) to semi-enclosed basins by Ra isotope mass balance is herein assessed. We evaluate 224Ra, 226Ra, and 228Ra distributions in surface and bottom waters of Long Island Sound (CT-NY, United States) collected during spring 2009 and summer 2010. Surface water and bottom water Ra activities display an apparent seasonality, with greater activities during the summer. Long-lived Ra isotope mass balances are highly sensitive to boundary fluxes (water flux and Ra activity). Variation (50%) in the 224Ra, 226Ra, and 228Ra offshore seawater activity results in a 63–74% change in the basin-wide 226Ra SGD flux and a 58–60% change in the 228Ra SGD flux, but only a 4–9% change in the 224Ra SGD flux. This highlights the need to accurately constrain long-lived Ra activities in the inflowing and outflowing water, as well as water fluxes across boundaries. Short-lived Ra isotope mass balances are sensitive to internal Ra fluxes, including desorption from resuspended particles and inputs from sediment diffusion and bioturbation. A 50% increase in the sediment diffusive flux of 224Ra, 226Ra, and 228Ra results in a ∼30% decrease in the 224Ra SGD flux, but only a ∼6–10% decrease in the 226Ra and 228Ra SGD flux. When boundary mixing is uncertain, 224Ra is the preferred tracer of SGD if sediment contributions are adequately constrained. When boundary mixing is well-constrained, 226Ra and 228Ra are the preferred tracers of SGD, as sediment contributions become less important. A three-dimensional numerical model is used to constrain boundary mixing in Long Island Sound (LIS), with mean SGD fluxes of 1.2 ± 0.9 × 1013 L y–1 during spring 2009 and 3.3 ± 0.7 × 1013 L y–1 during summer 2010. The SGD flux to LIS during summer 2010 was one order of magnitude greater than the freshwater inflow from the Connecticut River. The maximum marine SGD-driven N flux is 14 ± 11 × 108 mol N y–1 and rivals the N load of the Connecticut River.