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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-431
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-431
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 24 Aug 2018

Research article | 24 Aug 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Atmospheric controls on hydrogen and oxygen isotope composition of meteoric and surface waters in Patagonia

Christoph Mayr1,2, Lukas Langhamer3, Holger Wissel4, Wolfgang Meier1, Tobias Sauter1, Cecilia Laprida5, Julieta Massaferro6, Günter Försterra7, and Andreas Lücke4 Christoph Mayr et al.
  • 1Institute of Geography, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, 91058, Germany
  • 2GeoBio-Center and Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, München, 80333, Germany
  • 3Institute of Atmospheric and Cryospheric Sciences, Universität Innsbruck, Innsbruck, 6020, Austria
  • 4Institute of Bio and Geosciences, IBG-3: Agrosphere, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, 52425, Germany
  • 5Instituto de Estudios Andinos “Don Pablo Groeber”, Universidad de Buenos Aires – CONICET, Buenos Aires, C1428EHA, Argentina
  • 6CONICET, CENAC/APN, Bariloche, 8400, Argentina
  • 7Huinay Scientific Field Station, and Escuela de Ciencias del Mar, Facultad de Recursos Naturales, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Chile

Abstract. The southern tip of South America, commonly referred to as Patagonia, is a key area to understand Southern Hemisphere Westerlies (SHW) dynamics and orographic isotope effects in precipitation. However, only few studies have addressed these topics. We evaluated the stable isotope (δ2H, δ18O) compositions of precipitation, lentic waters, and lotic waters in that area to characterize and understand isotope fractionation processes associated with orographic rainout, moisture recycling and moisture sources. Observational data were interpreted with the help of backward trajectory modelling of moisture sources using reanalysis climate data. While the Pacific serves as the exclusive moisture source for sites upwind of the Andes and on the immediate downwind area of the Andes, recycled moisture from the continent seems to be the main humidity source at the Patagonian Atlantic coast. In contrast, the Pampean Atlantic coast north of Patagonia obtains moisture from the Atlantic Ocean. In the core zone of the SHW at a latitude of 50°S, a depletion in the heavy isotopes of 10‰ and 85‰, for δ18O and δ2H, respectively, occurs due to orographic rainout corresponding to a drying ratio of 0.45.

Christoph Mayr et al.
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Short summary
Patagonia is a key area to understand wind dynamics and orographic isotope effects on precipitation in the southern hemisphere. Stable isotope composition of precipitation, lake and river waters were investigated. Sources of Patagonian moisture were mainly in the south-eastern Pacific. A strong heavy-isotope depletion occurs due to orographic rainout in the Andes. Isotope data allow the determination of the drying ratio (DR). The obtained DR value of 0.45 is one of the highest measured on earth.
Patagonia is a key area to understand wind dynamics and orographic isotope effects on...
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