, Volume 5, Issue 3-6, pp 51-69

What Anthropogenic Radionuclides (90Sr and 137Cs in Atmospheric Deposition, Surface Soils and Aeolian Dusts Suggest for Dust Transport over Japan

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Currently, atmospheric anthropogenic radionuclides (particulate) are controlled by suspension of the surface dust containing those radionuclides (resuspension). We have found, therefore, that such radionuclides can be used as tracers of the surface dust suspension, transport and its subsequent deposition in distant areas. The 137Cs/90Sr activity ratios in the atmospheric deposition, without the direct influence of nuclear tests and accidents, at the Meteorological Research Institute (MRI, Tsukuba, Japan) during the 1990s were fairly low (average: 2.1). This value is not in agreement with the ratios in Japanese surface soils (range of averages: 4–7), which had been considered as the primary source of the deposited dust. This suggests that the current atmospheric dust deposition in Japan is a mixture of local and remote components. The remote component could be an aeolian dust that has been transported long distances from arid areas. The major component is most likely to be Asian dust. It was further hypothesized that other remote source may exist beyond the Asian domain, based on accumulated observations and model results. To obtain more information about the dust transport, Sahara dust deposited in Monaco in 2002 and a suspended dust collected in the Taklamakan area in 2001 were analyzed for 90Sr and 137Cs. The Taklamakan dust exhibited a 137Cs/90Sr ratio of about 4, which is within the range of atmospheric deposition observed at the MRI, while the Sahara dust exhibited a higher 137Cs/90Sr ratio (about 13). Although the present Sahara datum was negative for our hypothesis of ‘hyper-range transport’, the seasonal change of the 137Cs/90Sr ratio in the atmospheric deposition observed at the MRI requires an aeolian dust source having a low 137Cs/90Sr ratio, other than Asian dust.