Browsing by Author "Griffiths, AD"
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- ItemA 35 ka record of groundwater recharge in south-west Australia using stable water isotopes(Elsevier B. V., 2020-05-15) Priestley, SC; Meredith, KT; Treble, PC; Cendón, DI; Griffiths, AD; Hollins, SE; Baker, AA; Pigois, JPThe isotopic composition of groundwater can be a useful indicator of recharge conditions and may be used as an archive to infer past climate variability. Groundwater from two largely confined aquifers in south-west Australia, recharged at the northernmost extent of the westerly wind belt, can help constrain the palaeoclimate record in this region. We demonstrate that radiocarbon age measurements of dissolved inorganic carbon are appropriate for dating groundwater from the Leederville aquifer and Yarragadee aquifer within the Perth Basin. Variations in groundwater δ18O values with mean residence time were examined using regional and flow line data sets, which were compared. The trends in the regional groundwater data are consistent with the groundwater flow line data supporting the hypothesis that groundwater δ18O is a robust proxy for palaeo-recharge in the Perth Basin. A comparison between modern groundwater and rainfall water isotopes indicates that recharge is biased to months with high volume and/or intense rainfall from the westerly wind circulation and that this has been the case for the last 35 ka. Lower stable water isotope values are interpreted to represent recharge from higher volume and/or more intense rainfall from 35 ka through the Last Glacial Maximum period although potentially modulated by changes in recharge thresholds. The Southern Perth Basin groundwater isotopic record also indicates a trend towards higher volume and/or intense rainfall during the Mid- to Late Holocene. The long-term stable water isotope record provides an understanding of groundwater palaeo-recharge. Knowledge of recharge dynamics over long time scales can be used to improve current water sharing plans and future groundwater model predictions. © Crown Copyright 2019
- ItemA 35 ka record of groundwater recharge using stable water isotopes for Perth Basin in south-west Australia(National Centre for Groundwater Research And Training, & Australian Chapter International Association Of Hydrogeologists, 2019-11-25) Priestley, SC; Meredith, KT; Treble, PC; Cendón, DI; Griffiths, AD; Hollins, SE; Baker, AA; Pigois, JPObjectives: As most large groundwater basins can contain ‘old’ groundwater where extraction exceeds groundwater recharge, knowledge of the past conditions and timing under which groundwater was recharged is needed to sustainably manage groundwater resources. Moreover, the isotopic composition of groundwater can be a useful indicator of rainfall isotope compositions and help to determine the drivers and impacts of rainfall and climate change. Applying isotopic tools to groundwater contained in regional aquifer systems can provide low-resolution information on recharge intensity, recharge source and past climatic conditions for the region. Design and Methodology: A dataset containing groundwater ages (14CDIC) and stable isotopes of water (δ18O and δ2H) from two regional groundwater systems within the Perth Basin, the Leederville Formation and Yarragadee Formation, were compiled to create a low-resolution palaeo-archive of groundwater recharge. Original data and results: The trends in stable isotopes of water over time in the regional groundwater data are consistent with groundwater flow line data supporting our hypothesis that groundwater stable isotopes are a proxy for palaeo-recharge. A comparison between modern groundwater and rainfall water isotopes indicates that recharge is biased to months with high volume and/or intense rainfall from the westerly wind circulation and that this has been the case for the last 35 ka. Lower stable water isotope values are interpreted to represent recharge from higher volume and/or more intense rainfall from 35 ka through the Last Glacial Maximum period although potentially modulated by changes in recharge thresholds. Conclusion: The groundwater isotope record is interpreted to be a low-resolution archive of recharge driven by changes in the relative intensity of past rainfall and recharge thresholds. This long-term stable isotopic recharge record provides a greater understanding of groundwater palaeo-recharge, and the connection between recharge and climate in the past. © The Authors
- ItemAnalysis of a decade of Asian outflow of PM10 and TSP to Gosan, Korea: also incorporating Radon-222(Elsevier B.V., 2015-05) Crawford, J; Chambers, SD; Kang, CH; Griffiths, AD; Kim, WHTen years of aerosol and Radon–222 (radon) data from Gosan, Korea, were analyzed. Seasonal cycles were strongly linked to changes in fetch and time of year. We estimated that 7.21 t/m y of PMio aerosol pass Gosan in the atmospheric boundary layer, increasing annually by 0.3 t/m y. Contributions to aerosol loading were characterized by fetch: South China, North China, Korea and Japan. While the highest, and most variable, contributions typically originated from South China, these air masses contributed to only 6% of the overall dataset. PM10 distributions were broader from South and North China than for Korea or Japan, reflecting differences in natural/anthropogenic soil sources, and number/distribution of large point sources. Employing radon to select air masses more representative of targeted fetch regions typically resulted in greater reported pollutant concentrations and rates of change over the decade. Estimated rates of PM10 increase from North China and Korea over the decade were 1.4 and 0.9 μg/m3 y, respectively. Total suspended particulate (TSP) elemental analysis indicated that the (non–sea–salt) nss–SO42− content of aerosols has been gradually increasing over the past decade and more recently an increase in NO3− was seen. However, on average, rates of increase in nss–SO42− have reduced since 2007, which were higher in South than North China. © 2020 Elsevier B.V.
- ItemApplication for 222Rn in atmospheric research(Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, 2012-10-16) Chambers, SD; Williams, AG; Zahorowski, W; Griffiths, ADRadon-222 (radon) is a relatively short-lived (half-life 3.82 d), naturally occurring, radioactive gas, with a relatively consistent and well-defined terrestrial flux, and almost negligible oceanic flux. Being a noble, poorly-soluble gas that does not accumulate in the atmosphere, it is an ideal tracer of recent (<2-3 weeks) air mass contact with ice-free terrestrial regions. In conjunction with air mass back trajectory analysis, radon is thus a useful tool with which to perform fetch analyses for observed pollution events. Since radon’s half-life is much greater than the turbulent timescale in the atmospheric boundary layer (~1 hour), it can be considered a conservative tracer in such situations. Consequently, radon profiles or gradient measurements in the lower atmosphere also provide valuable insight into vertical mixing processes under a range of atmospheric conditions. This presentation will provide an overview of ANSTO’s radon measurement capabilities (including: standalone detectors, tall-tower gradient measurements, aircraft profile measurements and flux chambers), with recent examples of their recent application. Radon’s physical characteristics also make it ideal for the evaluation of transport and mixing schemes of weather, climate or chemical models. This presentation will also showcase a radon flux map of Australia, developed at ANSTO to improve the radon source function employed in regional models.
- ItemAssessing the impact of atmospheric stability on locally and remotely sourced aerosols at Richmond, Australia, using Radon-222(Elsevier, 2015-12-13) Crawford, J; Chambers, SD; Cohen, DD; Williams, AG; Griffiths, AD; Stelcer, EA flexible radon-based scheme for the classification of nocturnal stability regimes was used for the interpretation of daily-integrated PM2.5 aerosol observations collected at Richmond, Australia, between 2007 and 2011. Source fingerprint concentrations for the dominant locally and remotely sourced aerosols were analysed by nocturnal radon stability category to characterise the influences of day-to-day changes in daily integrated atmospheric mixing. The fingerprints analysed included: smoke, vehicle exhaust, secondary sulfate and aged industrial sulfur. The largest and most consistent stability influences were observed on the locally sourced pollutants. Based on a 5-year composite, daily integrated concentrations of smoke were almost a factor of 7 higher when nocturnal conditions were classed as “stable” than when they were “near neutral”. For vehicle emissions a factor of 4 was seen. However, when the winter months were considered in isolation, it was found that these factors increased to 11.5 (smoke) and 5.5 (vehicle emissions) for daily average concentrations. The changes in concentration of the remotely sourced pollutants with atmospheric stability were comparatively small and less consistent, probably as a result of the nocturnal inversion frequently isolating near-surface observations from non-local sources at night. A similar classification was performed using the commonly-adopted Pasquill–Gifford (PG) stability typing technique based on meteorological parameters. While concentrations of fingerprints associated with locally-sourced pollutants were also shown to be positively correlated with atmospheric stability using the PG classification, this technique was found to underestimate peak pollutant concentrations under stable atmospheric conditions by almost a factor of 2. © 2015, Elsevier Ltd.
- ItemAtmospheric stability effects on potential radiological releases at a nuclear research facility in Romania: characterising the atmospheric mixing state(Elsevier, 2016-04-01) Chambers, SD; Galeriu, D; Williams, AG; Melintescu, A; Griffiths, AD; Crawford, J; Dyer, LL; Duma, M; Zorila, BA radon-based nocturnal stability classification scheme is developed for a flat inland site near Bucharest, Romania, characterised by significant local surface roughness heterogeneity, and compared with traditional meteorologically-based techniques. Eight months of hourly meteorological and atmospheric radon observations from a 60 m tower at the IFIN-HH nuclear research facility are analysed. Heterogeneous surface roughness conditions in the 1 km radius exclusion zone around the site hinder accurate characterisation of nocturnal atmospheric mixing conditions using conventional meteorological techniques, so a radon-based scheme is trialled. When the nocturnal boundary layer is very stable, the Pasquill–Gifford “radiation” scheme overestimates the atmosphere's capacity to dilute pollutants with near-surface sources (such as tritiated water vapour) by 20% compared to the radon-based scheme. Under these conditions, near-surface wind speeds drop well below 1 m s−1 and nocturnal mixing depths vary from ∼25 m to less than 10 m above ground level (a.g.l.). Combining nocturnal radon with daytime ceilometer data, we were able to reconstruct the full diurnal cycle of mixing depths. Average daytime mixing depths at this flat inland site range from 1200 to 1800 m a.g.l. in summer, and 500–900 m a.g.l. in winter. Using tower observations to constrain the nocturnal radon-derived effective mixing depth, we were able to estimate the seasonal range in the Bucharest regional radon flux as: 12 mBq m−2 s−1 in winter to 14 mBq m−2 s−1 in summer. © 2016, Elsevier Ltd.
- ItemBulk mixing and decoupling of the nocturnal boundary layer characterised using a ubiquitous natural tracer(Springer, 2013-12-01) Williams, AG; Chambers, SD; Griffiths, ADVertical mixing of the nocturnal stable boundary layer (SBL) over a complex land surface is investigated for a range of stabilities, using a decoupling index () based on the 2-50 m bulk gradient of the ubiquitous natural trace gas radon-222. The relationship between and the bulk Richardson number () exhibits three broad regions: (1) a well-mixed region () in weakly stable conditions (); (2) a steeply increasing region () for "transitional" stabilities (); and (3) a decoupled region (-1.0) in very stable conditions (). exhibits a large variability within individual bins, however, due to a range of competing processes influencing bulk mixing under different conditions. To explore these processes in - space, we perform a bivariate analysis of the bulk thermodynamic gradients, various indicators of external influences, and key turbulence quantities at 10 and 50 m. Strong and consistent patterns are found, and five distinct regions in - space are identified and associated with archetypal stable boundary-layer regimes. Results demonstrate that the introduction of a scalar decoupling index yields valuable information about turbulent mixing in the SBL that cannot be gained directly from a single bulk thermodynamic stability parameter. A significant part of the high variability observed in turbulence statistics during very stable conditions is attributable to changes in the degree of decoupling of the SBL from the residual layer above. When examined in - space, it is seen that very different turbulence regimes can occur for the same value of , depending on the particular combination of values for the bulk temperature gradient and wind shear, together with external factors. Extremely low turbulent variances and fluxes are found at 50 m height when and (fully decoupled). These "quiescent" cases tend to occur when geostrophic forcing is very weak and subsidence is present, but are not associated with the largest bulk temperature gradients. Humidity and net radiation data indicate the presence of low cloud, patchy fog or dew, any of which may aid decoupling in these cases by preventing temperature gradients from increasing sufficiently to favour gravity wave activity. The largest temperature gradients in our dataset are actually associated with smaller values of the decoupling index (), indicating the presence of mixing. Strong evidence is seen from enhanced turbulence levels, fluxes and submeso activity at 50 m, as well as high temperature variances and heat flux intermittencies at 10 m, suggesting this region of the - distribution can be identified as a top-down mixing regime. This may indicate an important role for gravity waves and other wave-like phenomena in providing the energy required for sporadic mixing at this complex terrain site. © 2013, Springer.
- ItemCaves provide early warning of unprecedented decrease in rainfall recharge of groundwater(Research Square, 2022-05-02) Priestley, SC; Treble, PC; Griffiths, AD; Baker, AA; Abram, NJ; Meredith, KTBillions of people worldwide rely on groundwater. As rainfall in many regions in the future is projected to decrease, it is critical to understand the impacts of climate change on groundwater recharge. In this study, five caves record a consistent response to a sustained decrease in rainfall across southwest Australia that began in the late 1960s, characterised by a pronounced increase or ’uptick’ in dripwater and speleothem oxygen isotopic composition (δ18O). It is demonstrated that the uptick is in response to the shallow karst aquifers becoming disconnected from recharge due to regional drying. Our findings imply that rainfall recharge to groundwater across this region is no longer reliably occurring. Examination of the longer speleothem record shows that this is unprecedented over at least the last 800 years. A global network of cave dripwater monitoring would serve as an early warning of reduced groundwater recharge elsewhere, while evidence for upticks in speleothem paleoclimate records would provide a longer-term context to evaluate if current groundwater recharge changes are outside the range of natural variability. This study also validates speleothems as recorders of past hydroclimate via amplification of the δ18O signal by karst hydrology highlighting that speleothem δ18O are records of recharge, rather than a direct proxy for rainfall. © 2022 The Authors
- ItemCharacterisation of mixing processes in the lower atmosphere using Rn-222 and climate-sensitive gases(Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, 2007-08) Schelander, P; Griffiths, AD; Williams, AG; Chambers, SD; Zahorowski, W
- ItemCharacterising diurnal & synoptic timescale changes in urban air quality using Radon-222(Europenan Geosciences Union, 2020-05-01) Chambers, SD; Kikaj, D; Podstawczyńska, A; Williams, AG; Crawford, J; Griffiths, ADUrban air quality is strongly influenced by the atmosphere’s ability to disperse primary emissions and opportunities for secondary pollution formation. In mid- to high-latitude regions that experience enduring winter snow cover or soil freezing, regional subsidence and stagnation associated with persistent anti-cyclonic conditions such as the “Siberian High” can lead to “cold pool” or “persistent inversion” events. These events can result in life-threatening pollution episodes that last for weeks. While often associated with complex topography [1,2], persistent inversion events can also influence the air quality of urban centres in flat, inland regions . This presentation will describe a recently-developed radon-based technique for identifying and characterising synoptic-timescale persistent inversion events, which is proving to be a simple and economical alternative to contemporary meteorological approaches that require regular sonde profiles . Furthermore, key assumptions of the radon-based technique to characterise diurnaltimescale changes in the atmospheric mixing state described by Chambers et al.  are violated during persistent inversion conditions. Here we demonstrate how atmospheric class-typing, through successive application of radon-based techniques for identifying synoptic- and diurnaltimescale changes in the atmospheric mixing state, improves understanding of atmospheric controls on urban air quality in non-summer months across the full diurnal cycle. This knowledge translates directly to statistically-robust techniques for assessing public exposure to pollution, and for evaluating the efficacy of pollution mitigation measures. Lastly, we show how atmospheric class-typing can be used to enhance the evaluation of chemical transport models. © Author(s) 2020
- ItemCharacterising terrestrial influences on Antarctic air masses using Radon-222 measurements at King George Island(European Geosciences Union, 2014-09-18) Chambers, SD; Hong, SB; Williams, AG; Crawford, J; Griffiths, AD; Park, SJWe report on one year of high-precision direct hourly radon observations at King Sejong Station (King George Island) beginning in February 2013. Findings are compared with historic and ongoing radon measurements from other Antarctic sites. Monthly median concentrations reduced from 72 mBq m−3 in late-summer to 44 mBq m−3 in late winter and early spring. Monthly 10th percentiles, ranging from 29 to 49 mBq m−3, were typical of oceanic baseline values. Diurnal cycles were rarely evident and local influences were minor, consistent with regional radon flux estimates one tenth of the global average for ice-free land. The predominant fetch region for terrestrially influenced air masses was South America (47–53° S), with minor influences also attributed to aged Australian air masses and local sources. Plume dilution factors of 2.8–4.0 were estimated for the most terrestrially influenced (South American) air masses, and a seasonal cycle in terrestrial influence on tropospheric air descending at the pole was identified and characterised. © Author(s) 2014
- ItemComparison of δ18O in groundwater and a cave flowstone: improving the interpretation of the speleothem δ18O paleoclimate proxy(International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA), 2019-07-30) Adler, L; Priestley, SC; Treble, PC; Baker, AA; Hellstrom, JC; Griffiths, AD; Meredith, KTSpeleothems are high-resolution records that can be used for terrestrial paleoclimate reconstruction from their oxygen and carbon isotopes (δ18O and δ13C), and whose deposition is directly related to the groundwater recharge process. Groundwater δ18O records have the potential to provide an important long-term record of past climate, but they are low-resolution records as the isotope signal can be altered during flow within the aquifer. In this study we compare measured δ18O values from both a groundwater record and speleothem record from a flowstone over the past 12,000 years for the first time from south west Western Australia. Flowstones normally form from cave streams or fast dripping seepages and their oxygen isotope composition is sensitive to the extent of kinetic fractionation, determined by water flow rate, as well as, streams or seepages water δ18O composition. In this study comparison of δ18O values from a groundwater record and flowstone enables the source water oxygen isotopic composition to be constrained in order for a more complete interpretation of the higher resolution speleothem record, including the site specific kinetic processes and climatic changes. The flowstone δ18O values appear consistent with millennial variability in recharge δ18O predicted using the groundwater values, although the flowstone oxygen isotopes are generally enriched in 18O compared to the regional groundwater record before ~7.4ka. This offset between the records indicates that flowstone calcite deposition was not in isotopic equilibrium with its source water likely due to low flow regimes and extensive degassing of CO2. According to a model of isotopic disequilibrium that is driven by water supply, the Holocene portion of the flowstone record contains periods of relatively lower isotopic disequilibrium indicating possible higher water supply, and periods of relatively higher isotopic disequilibrium indicating possible lower water supply consistent with local and regional archives.
- ItemComposition of clean marine air and biogenic influences on VOCs during the MUMBA campaign(MDPI AG, 2019-07-10) Guérette, ÉA; Paton-Walsh, C; Galbally, IE; Molloy, SB; Lawson, S; Kubistin, D; Buchholz, R; Griffith, DWT; Langenfelds, RL; Krummel, PB; Loh, Z; Chambers, SD; Griffiths, AD; Keywood, MD; Selleck, PW; Dorminick, D; Humphries, R; Wilson, SRVolatile organic compounds (VOCs) are important precursors to the formation of ozone and fine particulate matter, the two pollutants of most concern in Sydney, Australia. Despite this importance, there are very few published measurements of ambient VOC concentrations in Australia. In this paper, we present mole fractions of several important VOCs measured during the campaign known as MUMBA (Measurements of Urban, Marine and Biogenic Air) in the Australian city of Wollongong (34°S). We particularly focus on measurements made during periods when clean marine air impacted the measurement site and on VOCs of biogenic origin. Typical unpolluted marine air mole fractions during austral summer 2012-2013 at latitude 34°S were established for CO2 (391.0 ± 0.6 ppm), CH4 (1760.1 ± 0.4 ppb), N2O (325.04 ± 0.08 ppb), CO (52.4 ± 1.7 ppb), O3 (20.5 ± 1.1 ppb), acetaldehyde (190 ± 40 ppt), acetone (260 ± 30 ppt), dimethyl sulphide (50 ± 10 ppt), benzene (20 ± 10 ppt), toluene (30 ± 20 ppt), C8H10 aromatics (23 ± 6 ppt) and C9H12 aromatics (36 ± 7 ppt). The MUMBA site was frequently influenced by VOCs of biogenic origin from a nearby strip of forested parkland to the east due to the dominant north-easterly afternoon sea breeze. VOCs from the more distant densely forested escarpment to the west also impacted the site, especially during two days of extreme heat and strong westerly winds. The relative amounts of different biogenic VOCs observed for these two biomes differed, with much larger increases of isoprene than of monoterpenes or methanol during the hot westerly winds from the escarpment than with cooler winds from the east. However, whether this was due to different vegetation types or was solely the result of the extreme temperatures is not entirely clear. We conclude that the clean marine air and biogenic signatures measured during the MUMBA campaign provide useful information about the typical abundance of several key VOCs and can be used to constrain chemical transport model simulations of the atmosphere in this poorly sampled region of the world. © 2019 The Authors
- ItemComprehensive aerosol and gas data set from the Sydney Particle Study(Copernicus Publications, 2019-12-02) Keywood, MD; Selleck, PW; Reisen, F; Cohen, DD; Chambers, SD; Cheng, M; Cope, M; Crumeyrolle, S; Dunne, E; Emmerson, K; Fedele, R; Galbally, IE; Gillett, R; Griffiths, AD; Guerette, EA; Harnwell, J; Humphries, R; Lawson, S; Miljevic, B; Molloy, SB; Powell, J; Simmons, J; Ristovksi, Z; Ward, JThe Sydney Particle Study involved the comprehensive measurement of meteorology, particles and gases at a location in western Sydney during February–March 2011 and April–May 2012. The aim of this study was to increase scientific understanding of particle formation and transformations in the Sydney airshed. In this paper we describe the methods used to collect and analyse particle and gaseous samples, as well as the methods employed for the continuous measurement of particle concentrations, particle microphysical properties, and gaseous concentrations. This paper also provides a description of the data collected and is a metadata record for the data sets published in Keywood et al. (2016a, https://doi.org/10.4225/08/57903B83D6A5D) and Keywood et al. (2016b, https://doi.org/10.4225/08/5791B5528BD63). © Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence.
- ItemConstraining annual and seasonal radon-222 flux density from the Southern Ocean using radon-222 concentrations in the boundary layer at Cape Grim(Taylor & Francis Group, 2013-02-14) Zahorowski, W; Griffiths, AD; Chambers, SD; Williams, AG; Law, RM; Crawford, J; Werczynski, SRadon concentrations measured between 2001 and 2008 in marine air at Cape Grim, a baseline site in northwestern Tasmania, are used to constrain the radon flux density from the Southern Ocean. A method is described for selecting hourly radon concentrations that are least perturbed by land emissions and dilution by the free troposphere. The distribution of subsequent radon flux density estimates is representative of a large area of the Southern Ocean, an important fetch region for Southern Hemisphere climate and air pollution studies. The annual mean flux density (0.27 mBq m 2 s 1) compares well with the mean of the limited number of spot measurements previously conducted in the Southern Ocean (0.24 mBq m 2 s 1), and to some spot measurements made in other oceanic regions. However, a number of spot measurements in other oceanic regions, as well as most oceanic radon flux density values assumed for modelling studies and intercomparisons, are considerably lower than the mean reported here. The reported radon flux varies with seasons and, in summer, with latitude. It also shows a quadratic dependence on wind speed and significant wave height, as postulated and measured by others, which seems to support our assumption that the selected least perturbed radon concentrations were in equilibrium with the oceanic radon source. By comparing the least perturbed radon observations in 2002 2003 with corresponding ‘TransCom’ model intercomparison results, the best agreement is found when assuming a normally distributed radon flux density with s 0.075 mBq m 2 s 1. © 2013, W. Zahorowski et al.
- ItemContinuous monitoring of mixing depth with radon-222 and lidar(Australian Meterological & Oceanographic Society, 2012-01-31) Griffiths, AD; Chambers, SD; Parkes, SD; McCabe, MFWe report on the development of a combined approach using both lidar and radon-222 measurements to obtain a near-continuous record of mixing depth which can, in turn, be used to assist in the interpretation of simultaneous trace gas measurements. Interactions between the land surface and the atmosphere above are moderated by the strength and depth of mixing in the lower atmosphere which ranges diurnally between several meters at night to over one kilometer during the day. Elastic backscatter lidar can be used to measure the depth of mixing during the day, i.e. the height of the planetary boundary layer (PBL), by employing the change in aerosol concentration, and hence lidar signal, at the boundary between the PBL and the free atmosphere. These measurements are only possible when the mixing depth is large. A complimentary approach, based on radon measurements, works well from the time turbulence decays in the afternoon through till mid morning when mixing depths are too small to be observed using lidar. Radon- 222 is chemically inert and is released from the surface at a relatively constant rate and as such is a natural passive tracer. Since it is radioactive, with a half-life of 3.8 days, it does not accumulate in the atmosphere. At horizontally homogeneous inland sites, vertical mixing is the main process affecting near-surface concentration. An estimate can therefore be obtained of an “equivalent mixing depth” from time-series of radon concentration measurements, which can themselves be obtained with robust and low-maintenance instrumentation. Using two measurement techniques sidesteps the limitations of each to make a combined dataset a useful component of field studies which seek to understand the exchanges of trace gases between the land surface and atmosphere.
- ItemEmbracing the karst hydrological control on speleothem oxygen isotope variability(European Geosciences Union (EGU), 2023-04-27) Treble, PC; Baker, AA; Priestley, SC; Griffiths, ADThe influence of karst hydrology or ‘flowpaths’ on speleothem oxygen isotopic (δ18O) values has been simulated using karst forward models. Cave monitoring studies have also shown that variability in dripwater δ18O can be directly related to whether flowpaths are dominated by preferential/quick flow or diffuse/slow flow which challenges the paradigm of speleothems as archives of past variability in mean rainfall δ18O. Yet it is not known how common this flowpath effect is and whether it should be considered in the interpretation of speleothem δ18O records. Recently, Treble et al. (2022) analysed two global databases: SISAL v2 (Comas-Bru et al., 2020) and an extended compilation of dripwater from Baker et al. (2019). It was demonstrated that within-cave variability in mean δ18O values were common worldwide in both datasets. An analysis of cave meta-data demonstrated that the flowpath effect is unrelated to climate, cave depth or lithology; further supporting the ubiquitous nature of flowpaths, i.e., there is (1) a mixture of preferential and diffuse flow for all karstified carbonate rocks due to its triple-porosity nature (primary=matrix, secondary=fracture, tertiary=pipes and conduit); and (2) differences in soil/epikarst water storage and drainage characteristics. We demonstrate how a mechanistic understanding of flowpaths can lead to a more robust interpretation using a case study that is also relevant for managing water resources in the Mediterranean-type climate of south-west Australia. Using seven modern stalagmite records from four caves, plus dripwater data, we demonstrate that the cave δ18O record shows a common response to a sustained decrease in rainfall that impacted the region in the 1970s, characterised by a rise or ‘uptick’ in δ18O (Priestley et al., 2022). Mean annual rainfall δ18O values over the same period were quantified using observed and modelled data to have varied by −0.4 to +0.1 ‰ whereas the speleothem uptick is +1.5 ‰. The much larger magnitude of the uptick is consistent with a reduction in the preferential-flow component to these caves driven by reduced rainfall recharge. Preferential flow is an important contribution to groundwater. The ‘uptick’ or reduction in preferential flow implies that rainfall recharge to groundwater across the study region may no longer be reliably occurring. The longer paleo-record for south-west Australia confirms that no replicated upticks are seen in the last 800 years in stalagmites from the region and highlights the impact of climate change to water security in a region heavily dependent on groundwater. © Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
- ItemEvaluating radon-derived mixing depth as a potential length scale for nocturnal mixing processes over land.(European Geosciences Union, 2010-05-02) Chambers, SD; Williams, AG; Zahorowski, W; Griffiths, ADTo evaluate, and ultimately improve, numerical schemes for vertical mixing and exchange within the atmospheric boundary layer, and in particular the nocturnal boundary layer, it is necessary to quantify mixing processes within the lower atmosphere at a temporal resolution sufficient to resolve the diurnal cycle. One way to quantitatively characterize near-surface mixing on diurnal time scales is to make continuous, high temporal resolution vertical gradient measurements of a suitable atmospheric tracer. Radon-222 (radon) is a naturally occurring, radioactive, noble gas that is poorly soluble in water. It has a relatively uniform terrestrial source function and its only significant atmospheric sink is radioactive decay. Radon’s 3.8-day half-life is also ideal for atmospheric boundary layer mixing studies, being much larger than turbulent timescales (<1 hour) but short enough to ensure typical concentrations in the free troposphere are orders of magnitude lower than near surface concentrations. Under strongly stable conditions, when the nocturnal mixing depth can become too shallow to be resolved by SODAR or LIDAR, nearsurface radon concentrations remain intimately linked to the local mixing depth. Radon gradient measurements between 2 and 50 m have been collected for more than a year from a 50 m tower near Sydney, Australia, using a pair of 1500 L dual flow loop, two filter radon detectors, with a lower limit of detection of approximately 40 mBq m-3. The site is topographically complex and, being less than 20 km from the coast, is also subjected to marine influences. While the magnitude of the diurnal radon signal at Lucas Heights is suppressed compared to that of flat, inland sites, a clear correlation is observed between the measured radon gradients and the strength of mechanical and/or convective turbulence. On windy nights (wind speeds in excess of 2 ms-1, or Bulk Richardson number less 0.25), the 2 – 50 m radon gradient rarely exceeds 1 Bq m-3. However, on strongly stable nights (clear skies with wind speeds < 2 ms-1), when the mixing depth is small and sometimes even below 50 m (so that the upper tower level is above the stable boundary layer), large radon gradients are observed that can exceed 5 Bq m-3. On stable nights it is possible to estimate the nocturnal mixing depth using a simple depth-integrated radon budget equation. The present investigation focuses on whether these mixing depth estimates could be useful as a length scale for investigations of nocturnal mixing processes. Initial comparisons with nocturnal mixing depths derived from simulations using the regional LAPS model provided by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology have been encouraging, considering the local terrain variability.
- ItemEvaporation and concentration gradients created by episodic river recharge in a semi-arid zone aquifer: Insights from Cl−, δ18O, δ2H, and 3H(Elsevier B. V., 2015-10) Meredith, KT; Hollins, SE; Hughes, CE; Cendón, DI; Chisari, R; Griffiths, AD; Crawford, JThis study has significantly advanced our understanding of the origin of groundwater recharge in a semi-arid zone region of the Darling River catchment, Australia. The generally accepted hypothesis in arid zone environments in Australia that river water forms the primary groundwater recharge source has proven difficult to monitor. This is due to the time lags between large floods, the remoteness and expense of studying these hydrologically complex systems in detail. In addition, the highly episodic nature of dryland rivers complicates the interpretation of the groundwater signal. A range of hydrochemical tracers (chloride, oxygen-18, deuterium and tritium) measured in rain, river water, soil water and groundwater were used in this multi-year study to trace the pathways of groundwater recharge under wet and dry climatic conditions. The evaporation and Cl concentrations observed in the unsaturated zone confirmed that small volumetric inputs from periodic rainfall were not the major recharge mechanism. Sampling which included an overbank flooding event in March 2012 provided firm evidence for groundwater originating from high flow episodic river recharge. The use of long-term environmental data to understand how economically important water resources respond to climate change with increasing temperatures is considered essential for future sustainability. Crown Copyright ©2015 Published by Elsevier B.V.
- ItemField testing of a portable two-filter dual-flow-loop 222Rn detector(Copernicus GmbH, 2021-04-19) Chambers, SD; Morosh, V; Griffiths, AD; Williams, AG; Röttger, S; Röttger, AAn overlapping need exists between the climate science, air quality and radiological protection communities for a robust, portable and direct monitor of atmospheric 222Rn concentrations typical of the ambient outdoor atmosphere. To reliably characterise afternoon radon concentrations, or resolve daytime vertical radon gradients in the atmospheric boundary layer (requirements for radon measurements to be used to evaluate the performance of chemical transport models), detection limits of ≤0.2 Bq m-3 at an hourly temporal resolution are required. Commercial portable radon detectors are mainly designed for indoor use, and the best of these has a detection limit of ≥2 Bq m-3 for hourly sampling, with an approximate uncertainty of 60% at typical outdoor daytime radon concentrations. Here we introduce a portable (200 L) version of the two-filter dual-flow-loop radon detector, designed and built by ANSTO in collaboration with the EMPIR 19ENV01 traceRadon project. While not as compact as commercial monitors (standing 1.6 m tall, and 0.48 m wide), its longest component is 1.2 m, enabling transportation in a standard utility vehicle or 4x4 (and can fit inside a 19” instrument rack). Constructed of marine grade stainless steel, it is weather resistant, robust, and suitable for long-term, continuous, autonomous deployment; in fact it is fully remotely controllable if a networked computer is available. The estimated lower limit of detection is 0.17 Bq m-3 for hourly observations, and the counting uncertainty at typical ambient outdoor radon concentrations is around 7%. Additional uncertainty associated with current calibration techniques, which inject calibration gas on top of ambient sampled air, varies from 2-6%. Some objectives of the traceRadon project include establishing direct calibration traceability to the SI and developing an improved closed-loop calibration technique, using a new, low activity Radium-226 source. If successful, the absolute accuracy of the 200 L radon detector at typical ambient outdoor concentrations could be kept well below 15% for hourly observations. This project has received funding from the EMPIR programme co-financed by the Participating States and from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. 19ENV01 traceRadon denotes the EMPIR project reference.