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Measurement report: Spatial variability of northern Iberian rainfall stable isotope values – investigating atmospheric controls on daily and monthly timescales

Abstract : Abstract. For the first time, this article presents a large dataset of precipitation isotopic measurements (δ18Op and δ2Hp) sampled every day or 2 d from seven sites on a west-to-east transect across northern Spain for 2010–2017. The main aim of this study is to (1) characterize the rainfall isotopic variability in northern Spain at daily and monthly timescales and (2) assess the principal factors influencing rainfall isotopic variability. The relative role of air temperature and rainfall in determining the stable isotope composition of precipitation changes along the west-to-east transect, with air temperature being highly correlated with δ18Op at daily and monthly timescales, while a few sites along the transect show a significant negative correlation with precipitation. The highest air temperature–δ18Op dependency is found for a station located in the Pyrenees. Frontal systems associated with North Atlantic cyclones are the dominant mechanism inducing precipitation in this region, particularly in winter. This study allows an exploration of the role of air mass source and trajectory in determining the isotopic composition of rainfall in northern Iberia by characterizing the moisture uptake for three of the seven stations. The importance of continental versus marine moisture sources is evident, with clear seasonal and spatial variations. In addition, the type of precipitation (convective versus frontal rainfall) plays a key role, with convective rainfall associated with higher δ18Op values. This comprehensive spatiotemporal approach to analyzing the rainfall isotopic composition represents another step forward towards developing a more detailed, mechanistic framework for interpreting stable isotopes in rainfall as a paleoclimate and hydrological tracer.
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Submitted on : Thursday, July 8, 2021 - 2:08:48 PM
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Ana Moreno, Miguel Iglesias, Cesar Azorin-Molina, Carlos Pérez-Mejías, Miguel Bartolomé, et al.. Measurement report: Spatial variability of northern Iberian rainfall stable isotope values – investigating atmospheric controls on daily and monthly timescales. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, European Geosciences Union, 2021, 21 (13), pp.10159 - 10177. ⟨10.5194/acp-21-10159-2021⟩. ⟨hal-03281713⟩

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