The summer 2012 Greenland heat wave: In situ and remote sensing observations of water vapor isotopic composition during an atmospheric river event

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Jean-Louis Bonne
  • Hans Christian Steen-Larsen
  • Camille Risi
  • Martin Werner
  • Harald Sodemann
  • Jean-Lionel Lacour
  • Xavier Fettweis
  • Grégory Cesana
  • Marc Delmotte
  • Olivier Cattani
  • Paul Travis Vallelonga
  • Kjær, Helle Astrid
  • Cathy Clerbaux
  • Árny Erla Svienbjörndóttir
  • Valérie Masson-Delmotte
During 7–12 July 2012, extreme moist and warm conditions occurred over Greenland, leading to widespread surface melt. To investigate the physical processes during the atmospheric moisture transport of this event, we study the water vapor isotopic composition using surface in situ observations in Bermuda Island, South Greenland coast (Ivittuut), and northwest Greenland ice sheet (NEEM), as well as remote sensing observations (Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) instrument on board MetOp-A), depicting propagation of similar surface and midtropospheric humidity and δD signals. Simulations using Lagrangian moisture source diagnostic and water tagging in a regional model showed that Greenland was affected by an atmospheric river transporting moisture from the western subtropical North Atlantic Ocean, which is coherent with observations of snow pit impurities deposited at NEEM. At Ivittuut, surface air temperature, humidity, and δD increases are observed. At NEEM, similar temperature increase is associated with a large and long-lasting ∼100‰δD enrichment and ∼15‰ deuterium excess decrease, thereby reaching Ivittuut level. We assess the simulation of this event in two isotope-enabled atmospheric general circulation models (LMDz-iso and ECHAM5-wiso). LMDz-iso correctly captures the timing of propagation for this event identified in IASI data but depict too gradual variations when compared to surface data. Both models reproduce the surface meteorological and isotopic values during the event but underestimate the background deuterium excess at NEEM. Cloud liquid water content parametrization in LMDz-iso poorly impacts the vapor isotopic composition. Our data demonstrate that during this atmospheric river event the deuterium excess signal is conserved from the moisture source to northwest Greenland.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)2970-2989
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015

ID: 135542340