Drivers of precipitation stable oxygen isotope variability in an alpine setting, Snowy Mountains, Australia

Callow, Nik, McGowan, Hamish, Warren, Loredana and Speirs, Johanna (2014) Drivers of precipitation stable oxygen isotope variability in an alpine setting, Snowy Mountains, Australia. Journal of Geophysical Research D: Atmospheres, 119 6: 3016-3031. doi:10.1002/2013JD020710

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Author Callow, Nik
McGowan, Hamish
Warren, Loredana
Speirs, Johanna
Title Drivers of precipitation stable oxygen isotope variability in an alpine setting, Snowy Mountains, Australia
Journal name Journal of Geophysical Research D: Atmospheres   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2169-8996
Publication date 2014-03-27
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1002/2013JD020710
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 119
Issue 6
Start page 3016
End page 3031
Total pages 16
Place of publication Hoboken, NJ United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Natural archives that preserve a stable isotopic signature are routinely used to reconstruct palaeoenvironmental conditions. Isotopic values of precipitation are known to be influenced by factors such as the amount and type of precipitation, moisture pathway, landscape and terrain factors, and processes associated with precipitation formation and deposition. This study investigates oxygen isotopic variability using real-time rain and snow precipitation data from a moderate altitude (<2250 m above sea level), Southern Hemisphere alpine environment, where the causes of isotopic variability are largely unknown. Previous research at Global Network of Isotopes in Precipitation sites skewed toward rain precipitation, low-altitude, predominantly coastal locations identified amount effects as the dominant explanation of isotopic variability in southern Australia. This study based on within- and between-event real-time sampling finds that the origin of moisture and terrain effects are the dominant cause of isotopic variability in this alpine region, with little evidence of amount effects. Rainfall that originated from similar Southern Ocean latitudes showed a consistent (moderate) isotopic signature (δ18O -6.5 to -8‰). Depleted isotopic signatures are associated with prefrontal activity and intense circulation such as east coast lows. Localized thunderstorms have a more neutral isotopic signature. A windward to leeward depletion (-0.5‰ δ18O) and an elevation impact (-0.5‰ δ18O 100 m-1) were found also. These results have significant implications for understanding atmospheric drivers of isotopic variability from which oxygen isotope-based palaeoclimate reconstruction is informed in regions with complex topography and geographically diverse moisture pathways such as the Australian Alps.
Keyword Oxygen isotope
Natural (inter-annual) variability
Isotopic variability
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
Official 2015 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 4 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 4 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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