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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 16, issue 11 | Copyright
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 6883-6900, 2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 06 Jun 2016

Research article | 06 Jun 2016

Precipitation regime and stable isotopes at Dome Fuji, East Antarctica

Anna Dittmann1, Elisabeth Schlosser1,2, Valérie Masson-Delmotte3, Jordan G. Powers4, Kevin W. Manning4, Martin Werner5, and Koji Fujita6 Anna Dittmann et al.
  • 1Inst. of Atmospheric and Cryospheric Sciences, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
  • 2Austrian Polar Research Institute, Vienna, Austria
  • 3Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 4National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 5Alfred Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 6Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya, Japan

Abstract. A unique set of 1-year precipitation and stable water isotope measurements from the Japanese Antarctic station, Dome Fuji, has been used to study the impact of the synoptic situation and the precipitation origin on the isotopic composition of precipitation on the Antarctic Plateau. The Antarctic Mesoscale Prediction System (AMPS) archive data are used to analyse the synoptic situations that cause precipitation. These situations are investigated and divided into five categories. The most common weather situation during a precipitation event is an upper-level ridge that extends onto the Antarctic Plateau and causes strong northerly advection from the ocean. Most precipitation events are associated with an increase in temperature and wind speed, and a local maximum of δ18O. During the measurement period, 21 synoptically caused precipitation events caused 60% of the total annual precipitation, whereas the remaining 40% were predominantly attributed to diamond dust. By combining the synoptic analyses with 5-day back-trajectories, the moisture source regions for precipitation events were estimated. An average source region around a latitude of 55°S was found. The atmospheric conditions in the source region were used as initial conditions for running a Rayleigh-type isotopic model in order to reproduce the measured isotopic composition of fresh snow and to investigate the influence of the precipitation source region on the isotope ratios. The model represents the measured annual cycle of δ18O and the second-order isotopic parameter deuterium excess reasonably well, but yields on average too little fractionation along the transport/cooling path. While simulations with an isotopic general circulation model (GCM) (ECHAM5-wiso) for Dome Fuji are on average closer to the observations, this model cannot reproduce the annual cycle of deuterium excess. In the event-based analysis, no evidence of a correlation of the measured deuterium excess with the latitude of the moisture source region or the corresponding conditions was identified. Contrary to the assumption used for decades in ice core studies, a more northerly moisture source does not necessarily mean a larger temperature difference between source area and deposition site, thus a more depleted precipitation in heavy isotopes with a higher deuterium excess.

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For a better understanding of the stable water isotope data from ice cores, recent time periods have to be analysed, where both measurements and model simulations are available. This was done for Dome Fuji by combining observations, synoptic analysis, back trajectories, and isotopic modelling. It was found that a more northerly moisture source does not necessarily mean a larger temperature difference between source area and deposition site and thus precipitation more depleted in heavy isotopes.
For a better understanding of the stable water isotope data from ice cores, recent time periods...