Dissolved barium in seawater

 We can use high resolution, high precision measurements of dissolved barium in seawater to probe processes such as ocean circulation, sea-ice formation, dissolution of sediments and biological productivity.

Ba/Ca in foraminifera from the Southern Ocean

Evidence indicates the incorporation of Ba into the calcite shells of single-celled foraminifera (denoted by Ba/Ca) relates to ambient Ba concentrations and, in the deep sea, dissolved inorganic carbon and alkalinity, and so ocean circulation.  However, there are many open questions surrounding the cycling of Ba in seawater, and its application as a paleoproxy.  What are the major inputs and outputs of Ba in the oceans, and how do processes such as glacial and riverine inputs, deep-water upwelling and particle scavenging influence Ba distribution?  How does Ba cycling in seawater relate to biological productivity?  What determines how foraminifera record Ba/Ca? How do sedimentary processes influence Ba/Ca? In addressing these questions, it will be possible to interpret foraminiferal Ba/Ca records more robustly in terms of past ocean chemistry and carbon cycling.


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