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Stable Isotope Signatures and Moisture Transport of a Typical Heavy Precipitation Case in the Southern Tianshan Mountains

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Stable oxygen isotopes in precipitation contain meaningful environmental information on a synoptic scale and can be applied to diagnose hydrometeorological processes. A series of rainstorms occurred at the southern Tianshan Mountains during the period from May to June 2013, and the event-based precipitation was sampled along the mountain range from west to east. Based on δ18O values in precipitation samples as well as the corresponding meteorological parameters, the moisture transport paths during the sampling period were identified. In late-May (stage 1), isotopes in precipitation collected generally showed a depleting trend. In mid-June (stage 2), there was no coherent trend of isotopes in precipitation for these stations, and only isotope values in Aksu showed a continually depleting trend. Checking other meteorological proxies during the sampling period, the event-based precipitation isotopes sensitively reflected the moisture process. In central Asia, both the westerly and monsoon moisture can be delivered to cause extreme precipitation events, and the isotopic information provides an alternative tool to investigate the atmospheric processes.

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The authors greatly thank the prefecture meteorological bureaus of Aksu and Kizilsu and four meteorological stations (Wuqia, Akqi, Aksu and Baicheng) for collecting the precipitation samples and the colleagues in the Northwest Normal University for their help in laboratory analysis.

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Correspondence to Gaofei Wang.

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Foundation item

Under the auspices of National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41701028, 41971034, 41161012), Scientific Research Program of Higher Education Institutions of Gansu Province (No. 2018C-02)

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Wang, L., Zhang, M., Wang, S. et al. Stable Isotope Signatures and Moisture Transport of a Typical Heavy Precipitation Case in the Southern Tianshan Mountains. Chin. Geogr. Sci. 30, 180–188 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11769-019-1091-6

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  • precipitation
  • stable isotope
  • moisture source
  • Tianshan Mountains