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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-2018-538
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-538
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Technical note 23 Oct 2018

Technical note | 23 Oct 2018

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

Technical note: an alternative water vapor sampling technique for stable isotope analysis

César~Dionisio Jiménez-Rodríguez1,2, Miriam Coenders-Gerrits1, Thom Bogaard1, Erika Vatiero1,3, and Hubert Savenije1 César~Dionisio Jiménez-Rodríguez et al.
  • 1Delft University of Technology, Water Resources Section, Stevinweg 1, 2628 CN Delft, The Netherlands
  • 2Tecnológico de Costa Rica, Escuela de Ingeniería Forestal, 159-7050, Cartago, Costa Rica
  • 3Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli, Department of Environmental, Biological and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technologies, Via Vivaldi, 43-81100, Caserta, Italy

Abstract. Recent developments in laser spectroscopy enabled to carry out direct measurements of δ2H and δ18O of air water vapor in the field. However, certain experimental sites or project budgets do not ease the deployment of this technology to obtain the needed measurements. We carried out three consecutive experiments aiming to provide an alternative method to sample air vapour in the field, and preventing fractionation during the process. The first experiment determined the minimum air sample volume required to obtain measurements of δ2H and δ18O with a laser spectrometer. The second one test evaluated the capacity to retrieve continuously similar isotopic signatures of the collected samples from one location. The third experiment assessed the applicability of this methodology under an experimental set up in a coniferous forest in The Netherlands. Stable isotope measurements of water vapor by laser spectroscopy can be obtained with a sample volume of 450mL of air. This allows to measure each sample during a period of 300s, obtaining isotope signatures with standard deviations lower than 0.1‰, and 0.5‰, for δ18O and δ2H, respectively. Air samples collected with bags were homogeneously mixed, allowing to retrieve a better temporal variation in the field than the cold traps employed.

César~Dionisio Jiménez-Rodríguez et al.
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César~Dionisio Jiménez-Rodríguez et al.
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Short summary
The measurement of stable isotopes in water vapor has been improved with the use of laser technologies. Its direct application in the field depends on the availability of infrastructure or the budget of the project. For those cases when it is not possible, we provide an alternative method to sample the air for its later measurement. This method is based on the use of a low-cost polyethylene bag, getting stable measurements with a volume of 450 mL of air reducing the risk of sample deterioration.
The measurement of stable isotopes in water vapor has been improved with the use of laser...
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