Radon (222Rn) as tracer for submarine groundwater discharge investigation-limitations of the approach at shallow wind-exposed coastal settings

Environ Monit Assess. 2022 Sep 17;194(10):798. doi: 10.1007/s10661-022-10462-5.


Mapping radon (222Rn) distribution patterns in the coastal sea is a widely applied method for localizing and quantifying submarine groundwater discharge (SGD). While the literature reports a wide range of successful case studies, methodical problems that might occur in shallow wind-exposed coastal settings are generally neglected. This paper evaluates causes and effects that resulted in a failure of the radon approach at a distinct shallow wind-exposed location in the Baltic Sea. Based on a simple radon mass balance model, we discuss the effect of both wind speed and wind direction as causal for this failure. We show that at coastal settings, which are dominated by gentle submarine slopes and shallow waters, both parameters have severe impact on coastal radon distribution patterns, thus impeding their use for SGD investigation. In such cases, the radon approach needs necessarily to allow for the impact of wind speed and wind direction not only during but also prior to the field campaign.

PMID:36114873 | PMC:PMC9482587 | DOI:10.1007/s10661-022-10462-5


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