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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-2019-344
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-344
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: technical note 29 Jul 2019

Submitted as: technical note | 29 Jul 2019

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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: comparison of water vapor sampling techniques 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. Water vapor samples are key elements to describe the evaporation process thanks to the stable isotope signatures of δ2H and δ18O. However, its sampling is a difficult task that can introduce errors due to isotopic fractionation. This study investigates the consistency of different sampling techniques for atmospheric water vapor. The isotope signature of a parcel of air was determined with a cavity output spectroscopy device during a period of 3 hours (benchmark). This parcel of air was sampled simultaneously with 3 types of sampling bags made of different materials (metalized polyethylene -MPE-, polyvinyl fluoride -PVF-, low density polyethylene -LDPE-) and with 2 cryogenic baths running at two different pumping rates (3 L min-1 and 50 mL min-1). The tested water vapor sampling techniques differ in their ability to keep reliable measurements after sampling and are highly susceptible to procedural errors. MPE bags are the best option for measuring samples up to two weeks of storage after sampling. LDPE and PVF bags are only reliable if the measurement is performed on the same sampling day.

César Dionisio Jiménez-Rodríguez et al.
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César Dionisio Jiménez-Rodríguez et al.
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Short summary
Knowing the isotopic composition of water vapor in the air is a difficult task. The estimation of δ18O and δ2H has to be done carefully, because it is accompanied by a high risk of methodological errors (if it is sampled) or wrong assumptions that can lead to incorrect values (if it is modeled). The aim of this work was to compare available sampling methods for water vapor in the air and estimate their isotopic composition, comparing the results against direct measurements of the sampled air.
Knowing the isotopic composition of water vapor in the air is a difficult task. The estimation...
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