Spatial and vertical distribution of 129I and 127I in the East China Sea: Inventory, source and transportation

Jinlong Wang, Yukun Fan, Dantong Liu, Tong Lu, Xiaolin Hou, Jinzhou Du*

*Corresponding author for this work

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    Iodirne-129 is useful for tracking water mass movement in the ocean. In this study, the concentration of iodine isotopes in seawater of the East China Sea (ECS) in October 2013 were analyzed to investigate the spatial and vertical distribution of 129I and 127I to understand water mass exchange. Results showed that the 129I/127I atomic ratios varied with the water mass, with higher values of (10-20) × 10-11 in the coastal regions and lower values of b8 × 10−11 offshore. Inventories of 129I were estimated to be (0.23–1.7) × 1012 atoms m−2 (n = 18) in upper 100 m waters, which is comparable to those of other regions without being contaminated by the nuclear accidents or nuclear reprocessing facilities. The total amount of 129I in the ECS water column was estimated to be 88 g in which over 90% is attributed to the oceanic input (e.g., West Pacific) via the Kuroshio Current (KC). The contributions of 129I from Changjiang (Yangtze River) terrestrial watershed (b7.5%) and atmospheric fallout (b2.7%) were small. Those from the Fukushima accident were negligible during this investigation. The 129I/127I ratios versus salinity distribution showed the range and stratification of the Changjiang, Yellow Sea, and KC waters in the ECS. Our study shows that the Changjiang fresh water could be transported to the North Jiangsu coast in October; the Taiwan Warm Current water could intrude to Northern part of the Changjiang Estuary (32°N). Besides, our results suggest that the 129I/127I profile is useful to indicate the seawater mixing process in ocean marginal systems.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Pages (from-to)177-188
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • (129)I/(127)I
    • Marginal sea
    • Mixing process
    • Vertical profile
    • Water mass

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