1Institute of Agricultural Sciences, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
2Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
3US Geological Survey, Reston, VA, USA
4Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
5Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Leipzig, Germany
Abstract. In this work, we present the first study resolving the temporal evolution of δ2H and δ18O values in cloud droplets during 13 different cloud events. The cloud events were probed on a 937 m high mountain chain in Germany in the framework of the Hill Cap Cloud Thuringia 2010 campaign (HCCT-2010) in September and October 2010. The δ values of cloud droplets ranged from −77‰ to −15‰ (δ2H) and from −12.1‰ to −3.9‰ (δ18O) over the whole campaign. The cloud water line of the measured δ values was δ2H=7.8×δ18O+13×10−3, which is of similar slope, but with higher deuterium excess than other Central European Meteoric Water Lines. Decreasing δ values in the course of the campaign agree with seasonal trends observed in rain in central Europe. The deuterium excess was higher in clouds developing after recent precipitation revealing episodes of regional moisture recycling. The variations in δ values during one cloud event could either result from changes in meteorological conditions during condensation or from variations in the δ values of the water vapor feeding the cloud. To test which of both aspects dominated during the investigated cloud events, we modeled the variation in δ values in cloud water using a closed box model. We could show that the variation in δ values of two cloud events was mainly due to changes in local temperature conditions. For the other eleven cloud events, the variation was most likely caused by changes in the isotopic composition of the advected and entrained vapor. Frontal passages during two of the latter cloud events led to the strongest temporal changes in both δ2H (≈ 6‰ per hour) and δ18O (≈ 0.6‰ per hour). Moreover, a detailed trajectory analysis for the two longest cloud events revealed that variations in the entrained vapor were most likely related to rain out or changes in relative humidity and temperature at the moisture source region or both. This study illustrates the sensitivity of stable isotope composition of cloud water to changes in large scale air mass properties and regional recycling of moisture.