Quantifying Ice-Sheet Derived Lead (Pb) Fluxes to the Ocean; A Case Study at Nioghalvfjerdsbræ

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Krisch, Stephan
Huhn, Oliver
Al-Hashem, Ali
Hopwood, Mark J.
Lodeiro, PabloLodeiro, Pablo - ORCID ID
Achterberg, Eric P.
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cc-by-nc (c) Krisch et al., 2022
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Concentrations of the toxic element lead (Pb) are elevated in seawater due to historical emissions. While anthropogenic atmospheric emissions are the dominant source of dissolved Pb (dPb) to the Atlantic Ocean, evidence is emerging of a natural source associated with subglacial discharge into the ocean but this has yet to be constrained around Greenland. Here, we show subglacial discharge from the cavity underneath Nioghalvfjerdsbræ floating ice tongue, is a previously unrecognized source of dPb to the NE Greenland Shelf. Contrasting cavity-inflowing and cavity-outflowing waters, we constrain the associated net-dPb flux as 2.2 ± 1.4 Mg·yr−1, of which ∼90% originates from dissolution of glacial bedrock and cavity sediments. We propose that the retreat of the floating ice tongue, the ongoing retreat of many glaciers on Greenland, associated shifts in sediment dynamics, and enhanced meltwater discharges into shelf waters may result in pronounced changes, possibly increases, in net-dPb fluxes to coastal waters.
Journal or Serie
Geophysical Research Letters, 2022, vol. 49, núm. 21, p. 1-13