Articles | Volume 15, issue 18
Research article
16 Sep 2015
Research article |  | 16 Sep 2015

Simultaneous monitoring of stable oxygen isotope composition in water vapour and precipitation over the central Tibetan Plateau

W. Yu, L. Tian, Y. Ma, B. Xu, and D. Qu

Abstract. This study investigated daily δ18O variations of water vapour (δ18Ov) and precipitation (δ18Op) simultaneously at Nagqu on the central Tibetan Plateau for the first time. Data show that the δ18O tendencies of water vapour coincide strongly with those of associated precipitation. The δ18O values of precipitation affect those of water vapour not only on the same day, but also for the following several days. In comparison, the δ18O values of local water vapour may only partly contribute to those of precipitation. During the entire sampling period, the variations of δ18Ov and δ18Op at Nagqu did not appear dependent on temperature, but did seem significantly dependent on the joint contributions of relative humidity, pressure, and precipitation amount. In addition, the δ18O changes in water vapour and precipitation can be used to diagnose different moisture sources, especially the influences of the Indian monsoon and convection. Moreover, intense activities of the Indian monsoon and convection may cause the relative enrichment of δ18Op relative to δ18Ov at Nagqu (on the central Tibetan Plateau) to differ from that at other stations on the northern Tibetan Plateau. These results indicate that the effects of different moisture sources, including the Indian monsoon and convection currents, need be considered when attempting to interpret paleoclimatic records on the central Tibetan Plateau.

Final-revised paper