Global boron cycle in the Anthropocene

This paper presents a revised and updated synthesis of the biogeochemical cycle of boron at the Earth’s surface, where the largest fluxes are associated with the injection of sea-salt aerosols to the atmosphere (1.44 Tg B/yr), production and combustion of fossil fuels (1.2 Tg B/yr), atmospheric deposition (3.48 Tg B/yr), the mining of B ores (1.1 Tg B/yr), and the transport of dissolved and suspended matter in rivers (0.80 Tg B/yr). The new estimates show that anthropogenic mobilization of B from the continental crust exceeds the naturally occurring processes, resulting in substantial fluxes to the ocean and the hydrosphere. The anthropogenic component contributes 81% of the flux in rivers. The mean residence time for B in seawater supports the use of δ11B in marine carbonates as an index of changes in the pH of seawater over time periods of > 1 Ma.

Schlesinger W. H. & Vengosh A., 2016. Global boron cycle in the Anthropocene. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 30(2):219–230. Article (subscription required).

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