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Stohl A.,Norwegian Institute For Air Research | Seibert P.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna | Wotawa G.,Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics
Journal of Environmental Radioactivity

The accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant (FD-NPP) on 11 March 2011 released large amounts of radioactivity into the atmosphere. We determine the total emission of the noble gas xenon-133 (133Xe) using global atmospheric concentration measurements. For estimating the emissions, we used three different methods: (i) using a purely observation-based multi-box model, (ii) comparisons of dispersion model results driven with GFS meteorological data with the observation data, and (iii) such comparisons with the dispersion model driven by ECMWF data. From these three methods, we have obtained total 133Xe releases from FD-NPP of (i) 16.7 ± 1.9 EBq, (ii) 14.2 ± 0.8 EBq, and (iii) 19.0 ± 3.4 EBq, respectively. These values are substantially larger than the entire 133Xe inventory of FD-NPP of about 12.2 EBq derived from calculations of nuclear fuel burn-up. Complete release of the entire 133Xe inventory of FD-NPP and additional release of 133Xe due to the decay of iodine-133 (133I), which can add another 2 EBq to the 133Xe FD-NPP inventory, is required to explain the atmospheric observations. Two of our three methods indicate even higher emissions, but this may not be a robust finding given the differences between our estimates. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Mao X.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Egli R.,Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics | Petersen N.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Hanzlik M.,TU Munich | Zhao X.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems

The widespread occurrence of magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) in several types of marine and freshwater sediment, and the role of fossil magnetosomes (magnetofossils) as main remanent magnetization carriers therein, has important paleomagnetic and paleoenvironmental implications. Despite numerous studies on MTB biology and on magnetofossil preservation in geological records, no detailed information is yet available on how magnetotaxis (i.e., the ability to navigate along magnetic field lines) is performed in sedimentary environments, and on how magnetofossils possibly record the Earth magnetic field. We provide for the first time experimental evidence for these processes. MTB living in sediment are poorly aligned with the geomagnetic field, contrary to what is observed in water. This can explain the seemingly excessive magnetic moment of most MTB. The observed alignment is sufficient for supporting magnetotaxis across the typical thickness of chemical gradients. Experiments with magnetofossil-rich sediment suggest that a natural remanent magnetization (NRM) is acquired by magnetofossils in the so-called benthic mixed layer, where natural MTB populations usually occur. The acquired NRM is proportional to the applied field at least up to ∼160 μT, and its intensity is compatible with values observed in nature for same sediment types. Therefore, if fossil magnetosome chains are not subjected to further alteration by early diagenetic processes, they can provide useful relative paleointensities. We propose a preliminary model to explain early stages of magnetofossil NRM acquisition as the result of a dynamic equilibrium between magnetic torques and randomizing forces due to sediment mixing. Key Points Magnetotactic bacteria in sediment are poorly aligned with the geomagnetic field Magnetofossils acquire a natural remanent magnetization inside the mixed layer Magnetofossil NRM is suited for relative paleointensity determination ©2013. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Source

Matzarakis A.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg | Muthers S.,Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg | Koch E.,Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics
Theoretical and Applied Climatology

The relationship between heat stress and mortality in the federal state of Vienna (Austria) was analyzed from 1970 to 2007. Long-term trends of mortality data and short-term adaptation to heat stress were considered by two complex approaches. The evaluation is based on the human biometeorological parameter, physiologically equivalent temperature. The results revealed a significant impact of heat stress on the human health, with a significantly higher sensitivity on women compared to men. Additionally, higher risks of deaths due to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases were found. During the long period of 38 years, some significant decreases of the sensitivity were found, especially in the medium heat stress levels. This could indicate active processes of long-term adaptation to the increasing heat stress. © 2010 Springer-Verlag. Source

Kristiansen N.I.,Norwegian Institute For Air Research | Stohl A.,Norwegian Institute For Air Research | Wotawa G.,Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics

Caesium-137 (137Cs) and iodine-131 (131I) are radionuclides of particular concern during nuclear accidents, because they are emitted in large amounts and are of significant health impact. 137Cs and 131I attach to the ambient accumulation-mode (AM) aerosols and share their fate as the aerosols are removed from the atmosphere by scavenging within clouds, precipitation and dry deposition. Here, we estimate their removal times from the atmosphere using a unique high-precision global measurement data set collected over several months after the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in March 2011. The noble gas xenon-133 (133Xe), also released during the accident, served as a passive tracer of air mass transport for determining the removal times of 137Cs and 131I via the decrease in the measured ratios 137Cs/133Xe and 131I/133Xe over time. After correction for radioactive decay, the 137Cs/133Xe ratios reflect the removal of aerosols by wet and dry deposition, whereas the 131I/133Xe ratios are also influenced by aerosol production from gaseous 131I. We find removal times for 137Cs of 10.0-13.9 days and for 131I of 17.1-24.2 days during April and May 2011. The removal time of 131I is longer due to the aerosol production from gaseous 131I, thus the removal time for 137Cs serves as a better estimate for aerosol lifetime. The removal time of 131I is of interest for semi-volatile species. We discuss possible caveats (e.g. late emissions, resuspension) that can affect the results, and compare the 137Cs removal times with observation-based and modeled aerosol lifetimes. Our 137Cs removal time of 10.0 13.9 days should be representative of a "background" AM aerosol well mixed in the extratropical Northern Hemisphere troposphere. It is expected that the lifetime of this vertically mixed background aerosol is longer than the lifetime of fresh AM aerosols directly emitted from surface sources. However, the substantial difference to the mean lifetimes of AM aerosols obtained from aerosol models, typically in the range of 3-7 days, warrants further research on the cause of this discrepancy. Too short modeled AM aerosol lifetimes would have serious implications for air quality and climate model predictions. © 2012 Author(s). Source

Karabatic A.,Vienna University of Technology | Weber R.,Vienna University of Technology | Haiden T.,Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics
Advances in Space Research

The importance of high resolution meteorological analysis of the atmosphere increased over the past years. A detailed analysis of the humidity field is an important precondition for a better monitoring of local and regional extreme precipitation events and for forecasts with improved spatial resolution. For this reason, the Austrian Meteorological Agency (ZAMG) is operating the spatial and temporal high resolution INCA system (Integrated Now-casting through Comprehensive Analysis) since begin of 2005. Errors in this analysis occur mainly in the areas of rapidly changing and hard to predict weather conditions or rugged topography with extreme differences in height such as the alpine area of Austria. The aim of this work is to provide GNSS based measurements of the tropospheric water vapour content with a temporal resolution of 1 h and a temporal delay of less than 1 h to assimilate these estimates into the INCA system. Additional requirement is an accuracy of better than 1 mm of the precipitable water (PW) estimates. © 2010 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

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