Journal cover Journal topic
The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/tc-2017-16
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
20 Feb 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).
Experimental observation of transient δ18O interaction between snow and advective airflow under various temperature gradient conditions
Pirmin P. Ebner1, Hans Christian Steen-Larsen2,3, Barbara Stenni4,5, Martin Schneebeli1, and Aldo Steinfeld6 1WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, 7260 Davos Dorf, Switzerland
2LSCE Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, Gif-Sur-Yvette Cedex, France
3Center for Ice and Climate, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
4Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics, University Ca’ Foscari of Venice, Venice, Italy
5Institute for the Dynamics of Environmental Processes, CNR, Venice, Italy
6Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, ETH Zurich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
Abstract. Stable water isotopes (δ18O) obtained from snow and ice samples of polar regions are used to reconstruct past climate variability, but heat and mass transport processes can affect the isotopic composition. Here we present an experimental study on the effect on the snow isotopic composition by airflow through a snow pack in controlled laboratory conditions. The influence of isothermal and controlled temperature gradient conditions on the δ18O content in the snow and interstitial water vapor is elucidated. The observed disequilibrium between snow and vapor isotopes led to exchange of isotopes between snow and vapor under non-equilibrium processes, significantly changing the δ18O content of the snow. The type of metamorphism of the snow had a significant influence on this process. These findings are pertinent to the interpretation of the records of stable isotopes of water from ice cores. These laboratory measurements suggest that a highly resolved history is relevant for the interpretation of the snow isotopic composition in the field.

Citation: Ebner, P. P., Steen-Larsen, H. C., Stenni, B., Schneebeli, M., and Steinfeld, A.: Experimental observation of transient δ18O interaction between snow and advective airflow under various temperature gradient conditions, The Cryosphere Discuss., doi:10.5194/tc-2017-16, in review, 2017.
Pirmin P. Ebner et al.
Pirmin P. Ebner et al.
Pirmin P. Ebner et al.

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Short summary
Stable water isotopes (δ18O) obtained from snow and ice samples from polar regions are used to reconstruct past climate variability. We present an experimental study on the effect on the snow isotopic composition by airflow through a snowpack in controlled laboratory conditions. The disequilibrium between snow and vapor isotopes changed the isotopic content of the snow. These measurements suggest that the history of metamorphism affects the snow isotopic composition.
Stable water isotopes (δ18O) obtained from snow and ice samples from polar regions are used to...
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