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Journal Articles Reviews of Geophysics Year : 2016

Stable isotopes in atmospheric water vapor and applications to the hydrologic cycle

Abstract

The measurement and simulation of water vapor isotopic composition has matured rapidly over the last decade, with long-term data sets and comprehensive modeling capabilities now available. Theories for water vapor isotopic composition have been developed by extending the theories that have been used for the isotopic composition of precipitation to include a more nuanced understanding of evaporation, large-scale mixing, deep convection, and kinetic fractionation. The technologies for in situ and remote sensing measurements of water vapor isotopic composition have developed especially rapidly over the last decade, with discrete water vapor sampling methods, based on mass spectroscopy, giving way to laser spectroscopic methods and satellite- and ground-based infrared absorption techniques. The simulation of water vapor isotopic composition has evolved from General Circulation Model (GCM) methods for simulating precipitation isotopic composition to sophisticated isotope-enabled microphysics schemes using higher-order moments for water and ice size distributions. The incorporation of isotopes into GCMs has enabled more detailed diagnostics of the water cycle and has led to improvements in its simulation. The combination of improved measurement and modeling of water vapor isotopic composition opens the door to new advances in our understanding of the atmospheric water cycle, in processes ranging from the marine boundary layer, through deep convection and tropospheric mixing, and into the water cycle of the stratosphere. Finally, studies of the processes governing modern water vapor isotopic composition provide an improved framework for the interpretation of paleoclimate proxy records of the hydrological cycle.
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insu-03721843 , version 1 (13-07-2022)

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Joseph Galewsky, Hans Christian Steen-Larsen, Robert D. Field, John Worden, Camille Risi, et al.. Stable isotopes in atmospheric water vapor and applications to the hydrologic cycle. Reviews of Geophysics, 2016, 54, pp.809-865. ⟨10.1002/2015RG000512⟩. ⟨insu-03721843⟩
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