Continuous monitoring of surface water vapour isotopic compositions at Neumayer Station III, East Antarctica

Martin.Werner [ at ]


In this study, the first fully continuous monitoring of water vapour isotopic composition at Neumayer Station III, Antarctica, during the 2-year period from February 2017 to January 2019 is presented. Seasonal and synoptic-scale variations in both stable water isotopes H182O and HDO are reported, and their links to variations in key meteorological variables are analysed. In addition, the diurnal cycle of isotope variations during the summer months (December and January 2017/18 and 2018/19) has been examined. Changes in local temperature and specific humidity are the main drivers for the variability in δ18O and δD in vapour at Neumayer Station III, on both seasonal and shorter timescales. In contrast to the measured δ18O and δD variations, no seasonal cycle in the Deuterium excess signal (d) in vapour is detected. However, a rather high uncertainty in measured d values especially in austral winter limits the confidence of this finding. Overall, the d signal shows a stronger inverse correlation with specific humidity than with temperature, and this inverse correlation between d and specific humidity is stronger for the cloudy-sky conditions than for clear-sky conditions during summertime. Back-trajectory simulations performed with the FLEXPART model show that seasonal and synoptic variations in δ18O and δD in vapour coincide with changes in the main sources of water vapour transported to Neumayer Station III. In general, moisture transport pathways from the east lead to higher temperatures and more enriched δ18O values in vapour, while weather situations with southerly winds lead to lower temperatures and more depleted δ18O values. However, on several occasions, δ18O variations linked to wind direction changes were observed, which were not accompanied by a corresponding temperature change. Comparing isotopic compositions of water vapour at Neumayer Station III and snow samples taken in the vicinity of the station reveals almost identical slopes, both for the δ18O–δD relation and for the temperature–δ18O relation.

Item Type
Primary Division
Primary Topic
Helmholtz Cross Cutting Activity (2021-2027)
Peer revision
ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Eprint ID
DOI 10.5194/tc-15-4745-2021

Cite as
Bagheri Dastgerdi, S. , Behrens, M. , Bonne, J. L. , Hörhold, M. , Lohmann, G. , Schlosser, E. and Werner, M. (2021): Continuous monitoring of surface water vapour isotopic compositions at Neumayer Station III, East Antarctica , The Cryosphere, 15 (10), pp. 4745-4767 . doi: 10.5194/tc-15-4745-2021



Geographical region

Research Platforms


Edit Item Edit Item