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Diagnosing Atmospheric Influences on the Interannual 18O/16O Variations in Western U.S. Precipitation
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Southern California, Zumberge Hall of Science (ZHS), 3651 Trousdale Pkwy, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA
Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo, General Research Building 211a, 5-1-5 Kashiwanoba, Kashiwa Chiba 277-8568, Japan
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 April 2013; in revised form: 6 June 2013 / Accepted: 9 July 2013 / Published: 25 July 2013
Abstract: Many climate proxies in geological archives are dependent on the isotopic content of precipitation (δ18Op), which over sub-annual timescales has been linked to temperature, condensation height, atmospheric circulation, and post-condensation exchanges in the western U.S. However, many proxies do not resolve temporal changes finer than interannual-scales. This study explores causes of the interannual variations in δ18Op within the western U.S. Simulations with the Isotope-incorporated Global Spectral Model (IsoGSM) revealed an amplifying influence of post-condensation exchanges (i.e., raindrop evaporation and vapor equilibration) on interannual δ18Op variations throughout the western U.S. Mid-latitude and subtropical vapor tagging simulations showed that the influence of moisture advection on δ18Op was relatively strong in the Pacific Northwest, but weak over the rest of the western U.S. The vapor tags correlated well with interannual variations in the 18O/16O composition of vapor, an indication that isotopes in vapor trace atmospheric circulation. However, vertical-tagging simulations revealed a strong influence of condensation height on δ18Op in California. In the interior of the western U.S., a strong temperature effect was found only after annual mean temperatures were weighted by monthly precipitation totals. These multiple influences on δ18Op complicate interpretations of western U.S. climate proxies that are derived from isotopes in precipitation.
Keywords: water isotopes; moisture advection; condensation; climate proxies; precipitation; hydroclimate; global models; western U.S.
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Buenning, N.H.; Stott, L.; Kanner, L.; Yoshimura, K. Diagnosing Atmospheric Influences on the Interannual 18O/16O Variations in Western U.S. Precipitation. Water 2013, 5, 1116-1140.
Buenning NH, Stott L, Kanner L, Yoshimura K. Diagnosing Atmospheric Influences on the Interannual 18O/16O Variations in Western U.S. Precipitation. Water. 2013; 5(3):1116-1140.
Buenning, Nikolaus H.; Stott, Lowell; Kanner, Lisa; Yoshimura, Kei. 2013. "Diagnosing Atmospheric Influences on the Interannual 18O/16O Variations in Western U.S. Precipitation." Water 5, no. 3: 1116-1140.