Resolving the controls of water vapour isotopes in the Atlantic sector
Peer reviewed, Journal article
MetadataShow full item record
- Geophysical Institute 
Stable water isotopes are employed as hydrological tracers to quantify the diverse implications of atmospheric moisture for climate. They are widely used as proxies for studying past climate changes, e.g., in isotope records from ice cores and speleothems. Here, we present a new isotopic dataset of both near-surface vapour and ocean surface water from the North Pole to Antarctica, continuously measured from a research vessel throughout the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans during a period of two years. Our observations contribute to a better understanding and modelling of water isotopic composition. The observations reveal that the vapour deuterium excess within the atmospheric boundary layer is not modulated by wind speed, contrary to the commonly used theory, but controlled by relative humidity and sea surface temperature only. In sea ice covered regions, the sublimation of deposited snow on sea ice is a key process controlling the local water vapour isotopic composition.