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Water 2013, 5(3), 1116-1140; doi:10.3390/w5031116
Article

Diagnosing Atmospheric Influences on the Interannual 18O/16O Variations in Western U.S. Precipitation

1,* , 1
, 1
 and 2
Received: 28 April 2013; in revised form: 6 June 2013 / Accepted: 9 July 2013 / Published: 25 July 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Tracers)
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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. water isotopes; moisture advection; condensation; climate proxies; precipitation; hydroclimate; global models; western U.S.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

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.

AMA Style

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.

Chicago/Turabian Style

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.


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