AGU 2017 Oral Presentation by Olivia Salmon: Airborne Observations of Water Vapor Deuterium Excess in the Mid-Latitude Lower Troposphere

Center for the Environment
December 15, 2017
10:35 AM - 10:50 AM
New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center - 344-345

Description

Water vapor is responsible for over half of the natural atmospheric greenhouse effect. As global temperatures increase due to fossil fuel combustion, atmospheric water vapor concentrations are also expected to increase in positive feedback. Additionally, studies have shown that urban areas can influence humidity levels, and the frequency and intensity of precipitation events. It is thus important to understand anthropogenic modification of the hydrological cycle, particularly around urban areas, where over half of the world’s population resides.

Airborne measurements of water vapor isotopologues containing 2H and 18O were conducted to better understand processes influencing atmospheric moisture levels around urban areas. Airborne measurements were conducted around the Indianapolis and Washington, D.C.-Baltimore areas during afternoon hours in February and March 2016, using a Los Gatos Research Water Vapor Isotope Analyzer installed in Purdue University’s experimental aircraft, the Airborne Laboratory for Atmospheric Research. The measurements of 2H and 18O allow for the calculation of deuterium excess (= δ2H – 8*δ18O), which provides information about non-equilibrium processes, such as kinetic effects, air parcel mixing, and transpiration. There are few studies that have reported observations of deuterium excess above the surface level (~100 m). During the measurement campaign, vertical profiles were frequently conducted from 300 m above the ground to an altitude of approximately 1.5 km, effectively characterizing water vapor isotope profiles spanning the boundary layer and lower free troposphere. Measurements probed the transition from planetary boundary layer air to free troposphere air to provide high resolution deuterium excess information across this interface. Processes such as Rayleigh distillation, atmospheric mixing, and surface fluxes potentially impacting water vapor deuterium excess through the boundary layer and free troposphere with be discussed.

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