Vertical variations in the influence of the amount effect: South American Summer Monsoon Region

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Kimberly E Samuels-Crow, University of New Mexico Main Campus, Albuquerque, NM, United States, Joseph Galewsky, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, United States and John R Worden, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States
Recent theoretical studies have shown that convective recycling of atmospheric water vapor gives rise to the isotope “amount effect” in which d values are lower than predicted by simple Rayleigh distillation processes (i.e. (DdD = dDvapor ­- dDRayleigh < 0‰). Several studies have linked isotopes in precipitation [e.g. Vimeux et al., 2009] and atmospheric water vapor [e.g. Samuels-Crow et al., 2014] in the tropical Andes to upwind convection associated with the South American Summer Monsoon (SASM). The vertical structure of this convective influence, however, remains unknown. Understanding the vertical structure of the amount effect over South America is essential for improving theoretical constraints and developing better models of the influence of the SASM on southern hemisphere humidity. Additionally, evaluating the vertical and lateral extent of the SASM’s convective influence can provide important constraints for interpreting paleoclimate proxies in the region. We use data from the Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) to examine the vertical structure of the amount effect associated with the SASM and relate these results to regional convective precipitation and local subcloud equivalent potential temperature. Preliminary results show that DdD is below 0‰ from the boundary layer through the mid-troposphere over tropical South America during austral summer, and meridional averages show that convective precipitation is highest over these areas where DdD < 0‰ extends higher in the atmosphere. We hypothesize that the depth of convection in the monsoon region controls the vertical structure of DdD, which should also be coherently linked to local equivalent potential temperature.


Vimeux et al. (2009), Palaeogeogr Palaeocl, 281(3-4), 229–241, doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2008.03.054.

Samuels-Crow et al. (2014), J Geophys Res-Atmos, doi:10.1002/(ISSN)2169-8996.