EGU21-2225, updated on 05 May 2021
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Atmospheric influences on water stable isotopes in Antarctic water vapor and surface snow – implications for ice core interpretation

Elisabeth Schlosser1,2, Saeid Bagheri3, Jordan G. Powers4, Kevin W. Manning4, Maria Hoerhold3, Melanie Behrens3, and Martin Werner3
Elisabeth Schlosser et al.
  • 1University of Innsbruck, Atmospheric and Cryospheric Sciences, Innsbruck, Austria (
  • 2Austrian Polar Research Institute, Vienna, Austria
  • 3Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz-Center for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 4National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, CO, USA

In Austral summer 2017/18 daily surface snow samples were taken (weather allowing) at two depths, 0-1cm and 6-7cm, at Neumayer III Station, Dronning Maud Land DML, Antarctica. Stable isotope ratios (18O, D, d-excess) of the snow samples were analysed in the AWI isotope lab. In parallel, water vapor stable isotopes were measured continuously on a routine base with a Picarro cavity ring-down spectroscope analyser (CRDS). Neumayer III is also a full meteorological observatory measuring all important meteorological variables including upper-air data. Meteorological data were directly compared to both snow and vapor isotope data. The corresponding synoptic situations were analysed using data from AMPS (Antarctic Mesoscale Prediction System), which employs WRF (Weather Research and Forecasting Model), a mesoscale atmospheric model that has been successfully used in earlier studies in DML. AMPS is run operationally at NCAR for Antarctic weather forecasting, particularly for flight operations of the US Antarctic Program (USAP). Additionally, back-trajectory calculations to investigate moisture sources and transport were carried out using FLEXPART, an open-source Lagrangian particle dispersion model. Due to logistical problems, the measuring period during the expedition was too short for statistical analysis, thus we focus on case studies here. In particular, periods with no precipitation were investigated, since earlier studies in Greenland have shown that the interaction of snow surface and atmosphere is important for the stable isotope ratio in the snow, thus in later ice cores that are used to derive paleo temperatures. A better understanding of the highly complex relationship between water vapor stable isotopes and meteorological conditions (including moisture source and transport) as well as the interaction between surface snow and water vapor is necessary for a correct paleoclimatic interpretation of ice cores.

How to cite: Schlosser, E., Bagheri, S., Powers, J. G., Manning, K. W., Hoerhold, M., Behrens, M., and Werner, M.: Atmospheric influences on water stable isotopes in Antarctic water vapor and surface snow – implications for ice core interpretation, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-2225,, 2021.


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