Modern precipitation δ18O and trajectory analysis over the Himalaya-Tibet Orogen from ECHAM5-wiso simulations


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Martin.Werner [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

Variations in oxygen isotope ratios (δ18O) measured from modern precipitation and geologic archives provide a promising tool for understanding modern and past climate dynamics and tracking elevation changes over geologic time. In areas of extreme topography, such as the Tibetan Plateau, the interpretation of δ18O has proven challenging. This study investigates the climate controls on temporal (daily and 6 h intervals) and spatial variations in present-day precipitation δ18O (δ18Op) across the Tibetan Plateau using a 30 year record produced from the European Centre/Hamburg ECHAM5-wiso global atmospheric general circulation model (GCM). Results indicate spatial and temporal agreement between model-predicted δ18Op and observations. Large daily δ18Op variations of 25 to +5‰ occur over the Tibetan Plateau throughout the 30 simulation years, along with interannual δ18Op variations of ~2‰. Analysis of extreme daily δ18Op indicates that extreme low values coincide with extreme highs in precipitation amount. During the summer, monsoon vapor transport from the north and southwest of the plateau generally corresponds with high δ18Op, whereas vapor transport from the Indian Ocean corresponds with average to low δ18Op. Thus, vapor source variations are one important cause of the spatial-temporal differences in δ18Op. Comparison of GCM and Rayleigh Distillation Model (RDM)-predicted δ18Op indicates a modest agreement for the Himalaya region (averaged over 86°–94°E), confirming application of the simpler RDM approach for estimating δ18Op lapse rates across Himalaya.



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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
42385
DOI 10.1002/2016JD024818

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Li, J. , Ehlers, T. A. , Mutz, S. G. , Steger, C. , Paeth, H. , Werner, M. , Poulsen, C. J. and Feng, R. (2016): Modern precipitation δ18O and trajectory analysis over the Himalaya-Tibet Orogen from ECHAM5-wiso simulations , Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 121 (18), 10,432-10,452 . doi: 10.1002/2016JD024818


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