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Metal fluxes through the Strait of Gibraltar: the influence of the Tinto and Odiel rivers (SW Spain)
Elbaz-Poulichet, F.; Morley, N.H.; Beckers, J.-M.; Nomerange, P. (2001). Metal fluxes through the Strait of Gibraltar: the influence of the Tinto and Odiel rivers (SW Spain). Mar. Chem. 73(3-4): 193-213.
In: Marine Chemistry. Elsevier: Amsterdam. ISSN 0304-4203; e-ISSN 1872-7581, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    dissolved trace metals; Gulf of Cadiz; fluxes; Strait of Gibraltar;

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  • Elbaz-Poulichet, F.
  • Morley, N.H.
  • Beckers, J.-M.
  • Nomerange, P.

    A large set of new data concerning dissolved metal concentrations has been acquired in the Gulf of Cadiz and in the Strait of Gibraltar from 1996 to 1999. These data, associated with models (hydrodynamic, tracer advection-dispersion and mixing), have been used to assess the influence of rivers draining the South Iberian Pyrite Belt on the Gulf of Cadiz and on the Atlantic inflow in the Strait of Gibraltar.
    Metal concentrations in surface waters from the Gulf of Cadiz are maximal near the mouth of the Tinto/Odiel rivers with values exceeding 50 nmol/kg (Mn), 5 nmol/kg (Ni), 30 nmol/kg (Cu), 100 nmol/kg (Zn), 0.9 nmol/kg (Cd) and 45 nmol/kg (As). From the Tinto/Odiel river, a plume of contamination follows the coast in the direction of the Strait of Gibraltar. The computation of a tracer advection-dispersion model confirms that the coastal currents carry the metals discharged from the Tinto and Odiel to the Strait of Gibraltar.
    From temperature-salinity and metal-salinity plots, four water masses can be recognised in the Gulf of Cadiz and in the Strait of Gibraltar: North Atlantic Surface Water (NASW), North Atlantic Central Water (NACW) and metal-enriched Spanish Shelf Waters from the Gulf of Cadiz (SSW). The Mediterranean Outflow Water (MOW) is also clearly seen at depths greater than 300 m.
    The chemical characteristics of these various water masses have been used in a mixing model to evaluate their relative contribution to the Atlantic inflow through the Strait of Gibraltar. These contributions are seasonally variable. in June 1997, the contribution was: 80 +/- 20%, 5 +/- 5% and 15 +/- 10% for NASW, NACW and SSW, respectively. In September, the SSW contribution was apparently negligible.
    Finally, these relative contributions allow the evaluation of the metal fluxes in the Strait of Gibraltar. The presence of SSW in the Strait increases the metal flux to the Mediterranean Sea by a factor of 2.3 (Cu), 2.4 (Cd), 3 (Zn) and 7 (Mn). It does not modify significantly As and Ni fluxes.

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