water stable isotopes

Review of Use of Isotopes in Studying the Natural History of Puerto Rico

Evaristo J. Review of Use of Isotopes in Studying the Natural History of Puerto Rico. University of Pennsylvania. 2012.

This review summarizes the earth and environmental science research papers in Puerto Rico that used isotopic techniques between 1965 and 2011. The range of applications in isotope-related research in Puerto Rico has grown steadily, led by the ubiquitous utility of stable isotope ratios in biogeochemical (δ13C, δ15N) and ecological (δ13C, δ15N, δD) research. Moreover, research in climatology has grown in recent years, spanning from the evaluation of the fidelity of isotope records (δ18O, δ13C) as an environmental proxy to the elucidation of multidecadal variability for paleoclimate reconstructions (δ18O and Sr/Ca). On the other hand, in addition to using isotope ratios, hydrological studies in Puerto Rico have also used trace element data to answer flow source (δD, δ18O, 87Sr/86Sr) and solute source (Ge/Si) questions, as well as in examining groundwater/surface flow relationships (222Rn). Finally, various isotope data have been used in trying to understand geomorphological (10Be, δ30Si) and geophysical (Pb, Nd, and Sr) phenomena. It is hoped that this review will be able to contribute to stimulating future interests in isotope-related research as applicable in the LCZO or Puerto Rico, in particular, and/or in comparable humid tropical settings, in general.

The stable isotope amount effect: New insights from NEXRAD echo tops, Luquillo Mountains, Puerto Rico

Scholl MA, Shanley JB, Zegarra JP, Coplen TB. 2009. The stable isotope
amount effect: new insights from NEXRAD echo tops, Luquillo
Mountains, Puerto Rico. Water Resources Research 45: W12407, DOI:

The stable isotope amount effect has often been invoked to explain patterns of isotopic composition of rainfall in the tropics. This paper describes a new approach, correlating the isotopic composition of precipitation with cloud height and atmospheric temperature using NEXRAD radar echo tops, which are a measure of the maximum altitude of rainfall within the clouds. The seasonal differences in echo top altitudes and their corresponding temperatures are correlated with the isotopic composition of rainfall. These results offer another factor to consider in interpretation of the seasonal variation in isotopic composition of tropical rainfall, which has previously been linked to amount or rainout effects and not to temperature effects. Rain and cloud water isotope collectors in the Luquillo Mountains in northeastern Puerto Rico were sampled monthly for three years and precipitation was analyzed for δ18O and δ2H. Precipitation enriched in 18O and 2H occurred during the winter dry season (approximately December-May) and was associated with a weather pattern of trade-wind showers and frontal systems. During the summer rainy season (approximately June-November), precipitation was depleted in 18O and 2H and originated in low pressure systems and convection associated with waves embedded in the prevailing easterly airflow. Rain substantially depleted in 18O and 2H compared to the aforementioned weather patterns occurred during large low pressure systems. Weather analysis showed that 29 % of rain input to the Luquillo Mountains was trade-wind orographic rainfall, and 30 % of rainfall could be attributed to easterly waves and low pressure systems. Isotopic signatures associated with these major climate patterns can be used to determine their influence on streamflow and groundwater recharge and to monitor possible effects of climate change on regional water resources.
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