Quantifying the Stable Water Isotopologue Exchange Between the Snow Surface and Lower Atmosphere by Direct Flux Measurements
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Geophysical Research (JGR): Atmospheres. 2021, 126 (13), e2020JD034400 10.1029/2020JD034400
Surface processes in high latitudes play an important role in global climate and thus understanding the physics of these systems is critical for improving climate projections. The characterization of the stable water isotopologue flux between the surface and the atmosphere offers the potential to constrain parameterizations of these physical surface exchange processes in numerical models. In addition, observations of isotopologue surface fluxes allow the evaluation of surface fluxes as a process influencing the formation of the climate signal retrieved from ice core isotopologue records. Here, we present a record of stable water isotopologue surface fluxes measured in-situ in the accumulation zone of the Greenland Ice Sheet at the East Greenland Ice Core Project site. We measured isotopologue fluxes above the snow surface directly by combining high-frequency eddy covariance measurements with low-frequency isotopologue measurements from a cavity ring-down spectrometer (CRDS). We developed a method to correct for the high-frequency loss of the CRDS by combining humidity measurements from both the CRDS and eddy covariance instruments. Using this approach our measurements provide the first direct observations of water isotopologue fluxes in polar areas. We observed a clear diurnal cycle in the fluxes of the different water isotopologues. The isotopic composition of the sublimation and deposition flux showed to be dependent on the snow and vapor isotopic composition, respectively. To a first order, the isotopic composition of the sublimation flux could be derived assuming equilibrium fractionation during sublimation.