EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
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MOSAiC’s Pan Arctic Water Isotope Network: Sea ice-water vapor isotope interactions and transport processes within, into and out of the Arctic

Ben Kopec1, Eric Klein2, David Noone3, Hannah Bailey4, Kaisa-Riikka Mustonen4, Pete Akers5, Jean-Louis Bonne6, Martin Werner6, Hans Chirstian Steen-Larsen7, Sonja Wahl7, Franziska Aemisegger8, Bjorn Klove9, Alun Hubbard10, and Jeff Welker1,4
Ben Kopec et al.
  • 1University of Alaska Anchorage, Biological Sciences, Anchorage, United States of America (
  • 2University of Alaska Anchorage, Geology, Anchorage, United States of America
  • 3University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  • 4University of Oulu, Ecology and Genetics, Oulu, Finland
  • 5Institut des Géosciences de l’Environnement, CRNS, Grenoble, France
  • 6Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 7University of Bergen, Geophyical Institute, Bergen, Norway
  • 8ETH Zurich, Environmental Systems Science, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 9University of Oulu, Water, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Oulu, Finland
  • 10UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Center for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate, Tromso, Norway

MOSAiC is a one of a kind, year-long study of the Arctic Basin’s behavior focused in large part on interactions between sea ice, atmospheric processes, ecosystem dynamics and oceanography, as well as connections between the Arctic and the mid-latitudes. Our MOSAiC project is focused on how the Arctic Basin’s water cycle behaves throughout the year, especially now that sea ice loss allows for a new source of moisture to the atmosphere during times when this basin was formerly frozen over. These massive changes in open water and corresponding fluxes in conjunction with significant shifts in atmospheric circulation, are altering how moisture is transported into, within, and out of the Arctic Basin. In order to help quantify these Arctic hydrologic cycle variations, we have established the AWIN (Arctic Water Isotope Network) that uses continuous water vapor isotope measurements (δD, δ18O, and deuterium excess) at eight land-based stations from Barrow in Alaska to Ny Alesund in Svalbard, as well as on board the Polarstern.

With a network of sites rather than a single station, we gain the significant advantage of being able to track water vapor and how it varies from site to site, allowing us to identify the sources of moisture, and how and where that moisture is transported into, within, and out of the Arctic. For this analysis, we focus on the first months of the expedition (October-December 2019) to closely examine cases of critical events including a major low-pressure system in mid-November that impacted much of the Arctic Ocean basin and three key repeating transport regimes – 1) transport into the Arctic from the North Atlantic via the Greenland Sea, 2) transport into the Arctic via Baffin Bay, and 3) transport out of the Arctic via the Greenland Sea, as well as transport within the Arctic during each of these regimes. For example, in the scenario of transport into the Arctic via Baffin Bay, at our site in Thule, Greenland, we see significant reductions in deuterium excess each time the southerly flow initiates, suggesting significant moisture evaporating from nearby in Baffin Bay. We then can track that moisture to another site to observe how much of that locally-sourced vapor is transported to a given downwind location, allowing us to quantify vapor fluxes and isotopic fractionation processes across the Arctic. By examining these scenarios under varying sea ice conditions and large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns, this circum-Arctic network of water isotope measurements is transforming our understanding of the Arctic hydrologic cycle during MOSAiC.

How to cite: Kopec, B., Klein, E., Noone, D., Bailey, H., Mustonen, K.-R., Akers, P., Bonne, J.-L., Werner, M., Steen-Larsen, H. C., Wahl, S., Aemisegger, F., Klove, B., Hubbard, A., and Welker, J.: MOSAiC’s Pan Arctic Water Isotope Network: Sea ice-water vapor isotope interactions and transport processes within, into and out of the Arctic, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-12445,, 2020

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