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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-1313
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-1313
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 21 Jan 2019

Research article | 21 Jan 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Vertical profile observations of water vapor deuterium excess in the lower troposphere

Olivia E. Salmon1,a, Lisa R. Welp2,3, Michael Baldwin2,3, Kristian Hajny1, Brian H. Stirm4, and Paul B. Shepson1,2,3,b Olivia E. Salmon et al.
  • 1Department of Chemistry, Purdue University, 560 Oval Dr, West Lafayette, IN, 47907, USA
  • 2Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Purdue University, 550 Lafayette St, West Lafayette, IN, 47907, USA
  • 3Purdue Climate Change Research Center, 203 S Martin Jischke Dr, West Lafayette, IN, 47907, USA
  • 4School of Aviation and Transportation Technology, Purdue University, 1401 Aviation Dr, West Lafayette, IN, 47907, USA
  • acurrently at: Lake Michigan Air Directors Consortium
  • bcurrently at: School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University, 145 Endeavour Hall, Stony Brook, NY, 11794, USA

Abstract. We use H2Ov isotopic vertical profile measurements and complementary meteorological observations to examine how boundary layer, cloud, and mixing processes influence the vertical structure of deuterium-excess (d-excess = δD – 8 × δ18O) in the boundary layer, inversion layer, and lower free troposphere. Airborne measurements of water vapor (H2Ov) stable isotopologues were conducted around two continental U.S. cities in February–March 2016. Nine research flights were designed to characterize the δD, δ18O, and d-excess vertical profiles extending from the surface to ≤ 2 km. We examine observations from three unique case study flights in detail. One case study shows H2Ov isotopologue vertical profiles that are consistent with Rayleigh isotopic distillation theory coinciding with clear skies, dry adiabatic lapse rates within the boundary layer, and relatively constant vertical profiles of wind speed and wind direction. The two remaining case studies show that H2Ov isotopic signatures above the boundary layer are sensitive to cloud processes and complex air mass mixing patterns. These two case studies indicate anomalies in the d-excess signature relative to Rayleigh theory, such as low d-excess values at the interface of the inversion layer and the free troposphere, which is possibly indicative of cloud evaporation. We discuss possible explanations for the observed d-excess anomalies, such as cloud evaporation, wind shear, and vertical mixing. In situ H2Ov stable isotope measurements, and d-excess in particular, could be useful for improving our understanding of moisture processing and transport mixing occurring between the boundary layer, inversion layer, and free troposphere.

Olivia E. Salmon et al.
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Short summary
We conducted airborne vertical profile measurements of water vapor stable isotopes to examine how boundary layer, cloud, and mixing processes influence the vertical structure of deuterium-excess in the lower troposphere. We discuss reasons our observations are consistent with water vapor isotope theory on some days and not others. Deuterium-excess may be useful for understanding complex processes occurring at the top of the boundary layer, including cloud formation, evaporation, and air mixing.
We conducted airborne vertical profile measurements of water vapor stable isotopes to examine...
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