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ISSN: 2157-7587
Hydrology: Current Research

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New Approach for the Analysis of Isotopic Composition in Precipitation Globally

BP Singh*
School of Engineering and Technology, Amity University, Bijwasan, New Delhi-110 061, India
*Corresponding Author : BP Singh
School of Engineering and Technology
Amity University, Bijwasan, New Delhi–110 061, India
Tel: +(91)-11-28061487
E-mail: [email protected]
Received: January 21, 2016 Accepted: February 02, 2016 Published: February 10, 2016
Citation: BP Singh (2016) New Approach for the Analysis of Isotopic Composition in Precipitation Globally. Hydrol Current Res 7:225. doi: 10.4172/2157-7587.1000225
Copyright: © 2016 Singh BP. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Isotopic composition of hydrogen and oxygen of water in precipitation is important tool to analyze the water in hydrological cycle. A new method has been suggested by Singh [7] plotting slope versus intercept of Local Meteoric Water Line (LMWL) to find the original isotopic composition in precipitation as injected tracer globally. Singh [8-10] has applied these concepts to analyze the isotopic composition in precipitation in different catchment areas of river and different seasons, precipitation falling at different altitudes in a region or a place and across the continent. These studies are extended for the (a) study of changing intercept but keeping the same slope as attributed to changed conditions as the source of atmospheric moisture. The experimental data as available of two transect from Amazon to Altiplano in South America are analyzed. The results are presented assigning two components, one due to Rayleigh adiabatic condensation process rainfall and second recycled water vapour by evotranspiration. The details of the analysis are given and the results clearly indicate these two components, are discussed in detail. (b) Study of higher intercept due to Mediterranean Meteoric Water Line (MMWL), Israel samples from various inputs on mountains, coastal area, caves and valley to ascertain the precipitation is from the same source. (c) Study of LMWL across the country (India) for four different regions to obtain the LMWL of the regions by the method of Singh [7] obtained the original isotopic composition of water in all the four regions thereby get the Global Meteoric Water Line (GMWL).

Isotope; Hydrology; Precipitation
The stable isotopes of water molecule (H216O, 1H2H16O, H218O) are powerful tracers in hydrosphere and hydrologic cycle. There are as many as 9 isotopic configuration of water which is distinguishably due to their masses and therefore, these can be used as tracers. However, we have mass spectrometers and we can measure the ratio of the isotopes i.e., 2H/1H and 18O/16O of the precipitation. This can be expressed as δ2H and δ18O where δsample=(Rsample/RSMOW-1)1000 where R=2H/1H or 18O/16O. Craig [1] showed that the interrelationship between δ2H and δ18O in precipitation is virtually independent of temperature all over the globe and follows a simple, linear formula: the so called “Global Meteoric Water Line (GMWL)”. The average relationship is δ2H=8δ18O+10‰. This line usually only covers negative values of δ2H and δ18O i.e., water that is more depleted in heavy isotopes than the Vienna sea mean ocean water (VSMOW) standard. This is because all rainwater originates in some type of evaporation process. Therefore, with very rare exception, it is more depleted than sea water.
The plot of δ2H and δ18O giving linear equation with slope and intercept are being studied globally through the network known as Global Network for Isotopes in Precipitation (GNIP) established in collaboration between International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and World Meteorological Organization (WMO). With these studies the GMWL is modified as taken to be δ2H=8.13δ18O+10.8‰ by Rozanski et al. [2]. This has been discussed experimentally and theoretically by various investigators Craig [1], Friedman [3], Dansgaard [4], Yurtsever [5] and Singh and Kumar [6].
Lot of studies have been done and plots are as available of δ2H versus δ18O in various environmental conditions in a region and in different locations i.e., river, ponds, surface water and other ground water bodies and plots are also available between δ2H versus δ18O at different places and these are popularly known as Local Meteoric Water Line (LMWL).
One of the concepts of slope and intercept are not taken together and their correlation. Singh [7-11] had taken up the studies of various environmental conditions in typical cases but these are more case studies (a) when slope and intercept do not fall on straight line (b) when the data set in region are scattered around the straight line (c) when the original isotopic compositions are different in big regions, they do fall on GMWL. With these motivation case studies are taken up to ascertain the usefulness of the plot of slope versus intercept. This is the main consideration for this new approach.
Method of interpretation of the data
We plot δ18O versus δ2H, the isotopic composition of the precipitation from different environmental conditions taking δ18O on x-axis and δ2H on y-axis i.e., δ2H=mδ18O+c in x-y plane. We get the straight line with the slope of m1, m2, m3 etc. corresponding to intercept c1, c2, c3 etc. These plots are in different environmental conditions in a region for the same source of precipitation at different time. These are straight lines normally very close to each other and do not intersect. Is there any correlation between slopes m1, m2, m3 etc. and intercept c1, c2, c3? This is the main point for this analysis if we plot again, m1, m2, m3 corresponding c1, c2, c3 etc. that is we are in m-c plane. These points on m-c plane may be scattered in the plot but if we get all the points on straight line within a statistical error and take slope p and intercept q of the straight line then we write down the equation c=pm+q in m-c plane similar to δ2H=mδ18O+c in the x-y plane. If the points are scattered in m-c plane and not on one straight line then there may not be any correlation, if these points are on straight line there may be correlation. We rewrite the equation q=-pm +c now comparing with this equation with δ2H=mδ18O+c we get p is δ18O and q is δ2H. This p,q is the isotopic composition corresponding to slope m and corresponding intercept c. If this p,q is isotopic composition of precipitation on the GMWL then we can conclude that this is the original isotopic composition. This is modified by the kinetic fractionation due to temperature and environmental conditions as we get LMWL.
We can look the same problem by different method to interpret the experimental data. We consider GMWL for meteoric water as suggested by Craig [2] and finally adopted as given by Razanski et al. [1] to be δ2H=8.13δ18O+10.8.
Let us take the water of different isotopic compositions and take different slopes similar to those of LMWL for example 7.4-8.1 and calculate the intercept by the equation δ2H=slope δ18O (x-axis) +intercept (y-axis)‰ (1).
Thus these slopes are calculated with intercept for different isotopic compositions of water as given in Table 1, are plotted as shown in Figure 1. The different lines 1 to 6 in the plot are straight lines for different isotope compositions of water and therefore, the plot of experimental slopes versus intercept of δ2H axis is suggestive that if it is a straight line, this should correspond to isotopic composition of water in precipitation. This is modified due to environmental conditions (temperature and humidity). Therefore what we record is LMWL. Therefore, the plot of experimental slopes on x-axis versus intercepts on y-axis shall result in the isotopic composition of water as per Eq. (1), which is the water of the precipitation to be on GMWL thereby we get δ18O and δ2H. This is the basis of interpretation of data. In the present analysis the change in slopes for each LMWL are small however, the change of intercepts are large. This can be seen from Table 1 for slopes 7.4 to 8.1, intercepts are -3.8 to 10.2 for 6th line.
Case study 1
Gonfiantini et al. [12] have reported the isotopic composition of yearly and monthly precipitation sample as collected at various altitudes and in two transits from the Amazon to the Altiplano in Bolivia, South America and plotted LMWL in all these locations with varying slopes and intercepts in these regions. Singh [7] has given a new method for interpretation to get the original isotopic composition of water in precipitation by plotting slope versus intercept. The data as given by Gonfiantini et al. [12] has been re-examined by this plot especially to understand the varying intercept for the almost same slopes in these measurements to come out with certain explanation.
Precipitation regime and sampling size
Precipitation samples were collected in stations along two transits between the latitudes 14°30’ and 17°30 S and the longitudes 64°30 and 68° W. These samples were analyzed to get δ2H and δ18O at various heights as given by Gonfiantini et al. [12]. All details are available for altitude, amount of precipitation mean surface temperature of all the stations as reported by Gonfiantini et al. [12]. The laboratory measurement for isotopic were analyzed at Universite de Paris and relationship between δ2H and δ18O has been established at different stations and the monthly values are presented in Yungas – Altiplano Transit, Bolivia. All detailed analysis and modeling had been done by Gonfiantini et al. [12]. The analysis is done in this present studies for Yungas–Altiplano Transit at Bolivia to understand the intercept differences with virtually identical slope.
Analysis of the data
The data as reported different stations at different altitudes for δ2H and δ18O are reported for various stations in transect between Yungas and Altiplano for different stations as given by Gonfiantini et al. [12] and we obtained LMWL as given below Table 2:
The plot of these LMWL at different stations is given in Figures 2a and 2b. These are straight lines but very close to each other and almost parallel thus indicating that slopes are almost same but intersect is varying on δ2H axis from 11 to 22. It also indicates that there are two groups with intercept at ~11 and other with intercept at ~21. As per analysis as given by Singh [7], the author plotted slope and intercept of all the observations as given in Figure 3 indicating three groups at lower altitude (300 m.a.s.l. to 600 m.a.s.l., middle altitude (1700 m.a.s.l. to 22 m.a.s.l.) and high altitude (3100 m.a.s.l. to 4080 m.a.s.l.) and these groups are shown in Figure 3.
Another plot as given in Figure 4 between slope versus intercept for altitudes from 3100 m.a.s.l. to 4080 m.a.s.l. which is straight line giving, the y=8.80x-53.24‰ R2=0.9992 by the method of least square fit. As per interpretation of Singh if this is a straight line that all the observations of δ2H and δ18O measurement are correlated and by rewriting this equation we get -53.24=-8.80x+y‰ and therefore δ2H=-53.24‰ and δ18O=-8.88‰. This is on GMWL i.e., δ2H=8.13δ18O+22 i.e., an original isotopic composition without any modification. This is not so, for the altitudes at 1700 m.a.s.l. to 2100 m.a.s.l. and also for the altitudes at 3100 m.a.s.l.
Gonfiantini et al. [12] had suggested the precipitation at lower altitudes may be due to evaporation in the region.
The plot of slope versus intercept of LMWL as given by Singh [7] had given additional information and also confirmation of argument that precipitation had different origin.
(i) Precipitation falling at different altitude above 3010 to 4080 m.a.s.l. are correlated each other as we got straight line giving the value of δ18O=-8.88‰ and δ2H=-53.24‰ to be taken original isotopic composition of precipitation.
This is on GMWL? The GMWL taking as given by Rozanski et al. [1] is δ2H=8.13δ18O+10.8‰ taking δ18O=-8.88‰ we get δ2H=-61.34‰ but if we take δ2H=8.13δ18O+22‰ as given by Ayalon et al. [13] and also by Dansgaard [4], Gat and Dansgaard [14] due to influenced the origin of storm and evaporation effect of Mediterranean type situation, most of the precipitation are affected giving intercept to be ~22‰. If this is GMWL than taking δ18O=-8.88‰ then δ2H=-50.19‰, while the observed value is δ2H=-53.24‰ which is within statistical error ~2.0‰. Therefore, we take δ2H=8.13δ18O+22‰ as GMWL, Gonfiantini et al. [12] as reported that the varying intercept with same slope attributed to changing conditions at source / atmosphere moisture as given by Ayalon [13].
(ii) Therefore, by this method of the plot of slope versus intercept, we could able to identify the component of precipitation at higher altitudes. The plot at lower altitude in Figures 2a and 2b, this component had different origin. Gonfiantini et al. [12] had suggested that at low altitudes, the slope is less pronounced may be due to vapour recycled by evotranspiration (Salati et al. [15]; Gat and Matsui [16]). This is important in Amazon region as system recycled vapour is isotopic identical to rainfall and heavier than left in the system so counteracting the heavy isotopes. This may also partly be affected in mid altitude region.
Therefore, we conclude that the plot of slope versus intercept of different LMWL in the small region is useful tool to analyze the isotopic composition of precipitation and its origin.
Case study 2
Avner et al. [13] had published rainfall isotopic characteristic of water at various sites in Israel giving all the details i.e., δ18O, δ2H, rainfall, elevation, temperature for a long period from 1995-2003. They analyzed the data and concluded that the plot of δ2H and δ18O fall close to mediterranean meteoric water line (MMWL) rather GMWL. They also concluded that δ2H and δ18O close to MMWL typical of relative massive rain event above 10-15 mm during mid-water at the surface temperature of 5°-10°C. They also concluded that rainfall with less than 10 mm have slope less 8 and intercept also less than 22 as a consequence of evaporation process beneath the clouds. They discussed the variation of slopes around 8 and intercept of δ2H axis at various sites in Israel at various heights and also different intensity of rains and temperatures, isotopic composition of eastern, central and western area of Israel.
Cloud formation and raining in a small territory from the evaporation process of Mediterranean may not differ significantly but δ2H and δ18O at various sites may have some correlation, therefore it is important to re-analyze the data and look for any correlation of δ2H and δ18O at a location, at different elevation with varying rainfall and also in different local conditions.
This is the main objective for this analysis.
Study area and the method
The study focuses measurement of δ18O, δ2H using VG. SIRA-II mass spectrometer with accuracy of 0.1% for δ18O and 1.0‰ for δ2H. Data on air temperature were obtained since 1990 and rain water was collected by allowing water to accumulate in a large funnel and allowed to drop narrow head bottle not to evaporate during collection. The rainfall water collected is divided in different years for the following areas:
(a) Rainfall and snow in Hermon at two sites Neve and Ativ and lower cable.
(b) Easter sites of central mountain at Alon and Ma’ale central mountain ridge
(c) Arava valley at Nahal Hazera Valley
(d) Central plane Bet Dagan, Haifa Port and Ashdod
(e) Samaria mountain at City of Ashdod
(f) Jeruselam
(g) Galibe mount Peqi’in and Mikhmanim
(h) Samaria mountain
The data thus obtained are plotted between δ2H and δ18O at various sites at different dates with year indicating different elevations, also different rainfall conditions and obtained LMWL as given in Table 3 with statistical errors. The plots were done between δ18O and δ2H and obtained LMWL at different slopes as given below.
The plot of δ18O versus δ2H is shown in Figure 5 with different colours. We have also shown the plot of δ2H=8.13 δ18O+10.8 i.e., (GMWL) and δ2H=8.13 δ18O+22‰ (MMWL) as shown in same Figure 5. All these lines are conversing and then diverging. Another plot is done as shown in Figure 6 between the slopes versus intercepts for all the 19 stations which is shown in Figure 6 within this R2=0.748 marked by rectangle which is more close to MMWL. This is straight line that is to say the locations of different precipitation in different places are correlated. We get original water composition by y=4.70x-16.50‰ or -16.50x=-4.70x+y i.e., δ18O=-4.70‰ and δ18O=-16.50‰.
It is concluded that (i) the plot of δ2H versus δ18O is a straight line therefore the original composition of the precipitation at different area of Israel has a same origin and the original isotopic composition has been obtained by this method.
The poor R2 in this study may be due to many parameters like different locations, mountains, caves, intensity of rainfall and temperature.
Case study 3
Kumar et al. [17] had reported the isotopic composition of precipitation at thirty local areas in India during 2003-2006 alongwith humidity and temperature measurements and came out with GMWL for Indian subcontinent to be δ2H=7.93δ18O+9.94‰ (n=274, R2=0.98) almost the same as GMWL and the difference is attributed to different in geographical and local meteorical considerations. They have given the earlier measurements also by different workers in the region. The measurements are the study covered all portion of subcontinent from monsoon from Indian Ocean i.e., in Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea. The isotopic analysis was carried at NIH Roorkee using double inlet isotopic analysis (DIT RMS) and isotope laboratory at Vienna δ2H and δ18O were measured by Pt-H2 and CO2 equilibrium method following standard procedure. The detailed data set is available along with rainfall, temperature and humidity. They have also plotted meteoric water line at each location for all the regions and summarized in the table for both, the slopes and intercept at location which are given in Figures 7-10 along with the plot for each region and obtained isotopic composition by the method of Singh [7]. These are as following:
North region δ18O=-4.61‰, δ2H=-29.20‰
Western region δ18O=-9.29‰, δ2H=-63.73‰
Southern region δ18O=-3.10‰, δ2H=-14.52‰
Local region δ18O=-4.14‰, δ2H=-22.92‰
All the regions as per interpretation by Singh [7] are different and obtained original isotopic composition of precipitation. The graph between original isotopic composition of water in different regions between δ2H and δ18O as given in Figures 7-10 are plotted as given in Figure 11. This plot can be taken to be on GMWL of this part of continent which is given as δ2H=7.86δ18O+8.96‰ while GMWL δ2H=8.13δ18O+10.8‰. Measured slope is 7.86 ± 0.20‰ in place of 8.13‰ and intercept, 8.96 ± 2.0‰ in place of 10.8‰ taken to be same within statistical error.
Coastal region of Indian Continent and all the regions, the plot of slope versus intercept do fall on straight line suggesting that there are correlation within this region and locations. The GMWL by the present analysis for the regional can also be compared with the Kumar et al. [17] δ2H=7.93δ18O+9.94‰ with error of 0.20‰ of δ18O and 2.0‰ of δ2H.
Therefore, we conclude that the plot of δ2H versus δ18O we get LMWL at each location, the plot of slope versus intercept of each location we get a straight line, suggested that the isotopic composition be correlated to give original isotopic composition and further the plot of δ2H versus δ18O of original isotopic composition of each region we get GMWL.
Three case studies are given with sufficient data for the analysis of precipitation for isotopic composition in different conditions.
(a) When plot of slope versus intercept of the region do not fall on straight line, scattered around to give two components with different origin.
(b) When plot of slope versus intercept do fall on straight line of different regions of the country with varying climate condition are such that points are all scattered around the straight line within the statistical error.
(c) When the plot of slope versus intercept are recorded to give rise to original isotopic composition of precipitation the region and plot of isotope δ2H versus δ18O of different regions to get GMWL.
Therefore, we find the plots of slope versus intercept of LMWLs in original isotopes method is to get the correct information of input of isotopic composition of precipitation in hydrological cycle so as to follow the precipitation.

Tables and Figures at a glance

Table icon Table icon Table icon
Table 1 Table 2 Table 3


Figures at a glance

Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure
Figure 1 Figure 2a Figure 2b Figure 3 Figure 4
Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure
Figure 5 Figure 6 Figure 7 Figure 8 Figure 9
Figure Figure
Figure 10 Figure 11
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Review summary

  1. Aaron
    Posted on Sep 15 2016 at 12:42 pm
    The presented study presents new approch for the analysis of isotopic composition in precipitation globally.Enables the correct information of input of isotopic composition of precipitation in hydrological cycle so as to follow the precipitation. presentation of the association is quite remarkable.

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