Real-time water vapor isotope (δ18O, δ2H) measurements in Arctic Finland depict daily variance in the NAO and in moisture sources

Theme 1. Environmental protection
Session Name 1.10 Biogeochemical cycles in Arctic forests
Datetime Sep 07, 2018 01:15 PM - 01:30 PM (UTC +3)
Location Room 14
Presentation Type Oral
Presenter Jeffrey Welker
Author(s) Jeffrey Welker (UArctic, Univ of Oulu & Univ of Alaska, Finland), Kaisa-Riikka Mustonen (University of Oulu, Finland), Eric Klein (University of Alaska Anchorage, USA), Hannu Marttila (University of Oulu, Finland), Bjørn Kløve (University of Oulu, Finland)
Abstract text

The Arctic System is becoming much different now than in the past and this is being reflected in a new Arctic water cycle. We are observing unusual variation in climate oscillations such as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the Arctic Vortex with direct effects on weather patterns, precipitation types and their seasonality that in turn are leading to significant societal and ecosystem consequences. However, today we lack in-situ, real-time, continuous measurements of the Arctic water cycle, in particular the isotope properties of water vapor and precipitation that may provide forensic evidence of a changing Arctic.


We have established a new collaborative research program addressing the isotope geochemistry chemistry of water in Arctic Finland at the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park. The project uses the Finish Meteorological Institute’s Atmospheric Chemistry laboratory, Sammaltunturi (600 m asl) as our sampling platform. We are using laser-based water vapor analyzers (Picarro) that continuously sample ambient air and measure the water vapor concentration and it’s corresponding δ18O & δ2H values and then calculate the d-excess values. These isotope properties are then being compared to daily NAO and daily Barents Sea indices, wind vectors and back trajectory storm tracks. 


We have discovered that over the course of the mid-winter that the daily isotope values of water vapor (i.e. d-excess values especially) at Pallas are inversely related to increases in the NAO. These NAO nuances reflect fluctuations in storm track patterns that can be zonal across W Europe and Finland or meridional with greater degrees of Arctic moisture sources.

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