EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Multi-year water vapor isotopes (δ18O/ δ2H) reveal dynamic drivers of moisture source and transport in the Barents Region

Hannah Bailey1, Kaisa-Riikka Mustonen1, Eric Klein2, Pete Akers3, Ben Kopec4, Moein Mellat1, Alun Hubbard5, Douglas Causey4, and Jeffrey Welker1,4
Hannah Bailey et al.
  • 1Ecology and Genetics, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland (
  • 2Department of Geological Sciences, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, U.S.A.
  • 3Institute of Environmental Geosciences, Observatory of Sciences of the Universe, Grenoble, France
  • 4Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, U.S.A.
  • 5Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate, University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway

Stable isotope ratios (δ18O and δ2H) in precipitation (P) and atmospheric water vapor (V) can provide mechanistic information about water cycle processes such as moisture evaporation, transport and recycling dynamics. Such insight is valuable in the Arctic where declining sea ice is amplifying atmospheric temperature and humidity, leading to complex seasonal patterns of synoptic climate and atmospheric moisture transport. Here, we present two years of continuous water vapor isotope data from Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park, northern Finland, to investigate moisture source and transport processes in the Barents Region of the Arctic. High-resolution (1-sec) measurements obtained between December 2017 and December 2019 are coupled with on-site automated weather station data – including air temperature, humidity, solar flux, wind speed and direction – as well as event-based precipitation sampling and stable isotope data over the same interval. Over the two-years, mean vapor δ18OV, δ2HV and d-excessV values are -24.50‰, -181.49‰ and 14.49‰, respectively. These values are strongly correlated and define a local vapor line for Pallas where δ2HV = 7.6 x δ18OV + 5.9 (R2=0.98). We observe a mean offset of 10.9 ‰ between Pallas δ18OV and δ18OP, and d-excess is -4.8 ‰ lower in δ18OP. There is a larger offset between vapor and precipitation d-excess during summer (-8.4‰) compared to winter (0.1‰) that may reflect varying fractionation coefficients between solid and liquid cloud-precipitation phases. The timeseries exhibits strong seasonality characterized by lower δ18OV2HV and higher d-excess during winter, and the reverse during summer. In winter these broad patterns are primarily driven by synoptic-scale processes that influence the source and transport pathway of atmospheric moisture, and three dominant oceanic evaporative source regions are identified: the Barents, Norwegian, and Baltic Seas. Yet on diurnal timescales we observe distinct summer diel cycles that correlate with local fluctuations in specific humidity (q). These seasonal relationships are explored in context of spatial-temporal patterns in sea ice and snow cover distribution, as well as evapotranspiration processes across northern Eurasia. Finally, to better understand how current changes in the Arctic hydrologic cycle relate to inherent variability of the polar jet stream and related synoptic-scale weather, our isotope data are examined in context of dynamic circulation modes of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and Arctic Oscillation (AO).

How to cite: Bailey, H., Mustonen, K.-R., Klein, E., Akers, P., Kopec, B., Mellat, M., Hubbard, A., Causey, D., and Welker, J.: Multi-year water vapor isotopes (δ18O/ δ2H) reveal dynamic drivers of moisture source and transport in the Barents Region, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-15241,, 2020

This abstract will not be presented.