Isotopic content of mixed-phase orographic precipitation

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Peter N Blossey1, Mary Moore2, Zhiming Kuang2 and Andreas D Muhlbauer1, (1)Univ Washington, Seattle, WA, United States, (2)Harvard Univ, Cambridge, MA, United States
The isotopic content of mixed-phase orographic precipitation is explored in idealized simulations using the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF). The isotopic exchanges among water vapor, hydrometeors and precipitation have been fully integrated into the Thompson microphysics scheme, including both fractionating (e.g., vapor deposition) and non-fractionation (e.g., melting/freezing) processes. The stable isotopes of water, HDO and H2O18, are included in the present study.

The deviation of the isotopic content from linear theory predictions is studied, following Galewsky (2009, doi:10.1130/G30008A.1). The main focus, however, is on the response of orographic precipitation to aerosols and the impact of this response on the isotopic content of the precipitation. Changes in the prescribed cloud droplet number concentration are used as a proxy for changes in background aerosol concentrations. Elevated droplet concentrations lead to a decrease in precipitation over the mountain barrier and a shift of precipitation towards the lee side. In addition, the precipitation over the mountain itself becomes more depleted at some locations.