Caesium-137 in the Eastern Mediterranean-impact sources and marine pathways

H. Florou, P. Kritidis, F. Vosniakos, J. Trindafyllis, R. Delfanti, C. Papucci, A. Cigna, G.G. Polikarpov, V.N. Egorov, A.S. Bologa, V. Patrascu

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The dispersion of 137Cs is evaluated in the wide area of the Eastern Mediterranean (Aegean Sea, Cyprus Sea, Levantine Sea, Ionian Sea, Adriatic Sea) and in the Black Sea adjacent to the Northeastern Mediterranean with respect to the impact sources. Additionally, the time evolution of 137Cs is evaluated in the Aegean and Cyprus Sea with regard to the possible future installation of a nuclear power plant in Akuyu at the Turkish coast of the Southeastern Mediterranean. The impact source of radioactive pollution in the Northeastern Mediterranean has been defined as the mouth of Dardanelles in the North Aegean Sea. As the Aegean Sea is adjacent by its north part to the Black Sea through the Straits of Dardanelles, the Black Sea water mass enters the Aegean Sea via surface current circulation during the water exchange procedure between the two basins. The 137Cs levels detected till April 1986 were due to worldwide fallout and varied between 2.3-2.9 Bq m″3 from the southern to the northern part of the Aegean Sea, The respective values of the Cyprus Sea, the Libyan Sea and the Levanten Basin were lower. Considering the generic inventory of 137Cs in the Black Sea - Aegean Sea during 1993, the average concentration of 137Cs in sea water in the Black Sea varied up to 130 Bq m″3. The respective value in the mouth of Dardanelles was 120 ± 8 Bq m″3, whereas the estimated mean value for the Aegean Sea was 20.7 ± 14.7 Bq m″3 (maximum of 9.3 ± 4.2 Bq m″3 has been excluded). This value was quite high, compared to the pre-accident levels 2.6 ± 0.3 Bq m″3 or to the respective value for the Ionian Sea 9.2 ± 2.5 Bq m″3. The observed values in the Cyprus Sea, the Libyan Sea and the Levanten Basin were significantly lower. Considering the radioactive pollution of the Black Sea from the Chernobyl deposition, the mouth of Dardanelles has been the impact source of the soluble artificial radionuclides, which remain in the water column for a reasonable time and and are transported and distributed by the water mass exchanging. Thus, we assume that a more or less predictable amount of 137Cs is discharged to the Aegean Sea, Eastern Mediterranean, during the purification processes of the Black Sea through the Dardanelles channel and dispersed to the South-Western Aegean Sea via surface current circulation with respect to the sinking procedure of the radioisotope. Therefore, the levels of 137Cs in sea water samples in the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Cyprus Sea are recorded, in relation to the respective ones of the Black Sea and in comparison to those of the Adriatic Sea, the Libyan Sea and the Levanten Basin. In regard to the pollution sources in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Cyprus Sea, Southeastern Mediterranean, is the less influenced area as 137Cs transferred from the Black Sea is widely dispersed and sank in the Aegean Sea.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3 - 9
Number of pages7
JournalFresenius Environmental Bulletin
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

Cite this

Florou, H., Kritidis, P., Vosniakos, F., Trindafyllis, J., Delfanti, R., Papucci, C., ... Patrascu, V. (2003). Caesium-137 in the Eastern Mediterranean-impact sources and marine pathways. Fresenius Environmental Bulletin, 12(1), 3 - 9.