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CR 23:137-148 (2003)  -  doi:10.3354/cr023137

Climatic controls on the stable isotopic composition of precipitation in Northeast Asia

Kwang-Sik Lee1,*, Andrew J. Grundstein2, David B. Wenner3, Man-Sik Choi1, Nam-Chil Woo4, Dae-Ha Lee5

1Korea Basic Science Institute, Eoeun-dong 52, Yusung-gu, Daejeon 305-333, Korea
2Department of Geography, and
3Department of Geology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA
4Department of Earth System Sciences, Yonsei University, Seoul 120-749, Korea
5Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources, Gajeong-dong 30, Yusung-gu, Daejeon 305-350, Korea

ABSTRACT: An examination of oxygen and hydrogen isotopic compositions of precipitation in NE Asia from the IAEA/WMO data set reveals that many sites have a distinct winter-summer seasonal pattern in deuterium excess (d-) values that appears to reflect different climatic conditions. To further understand this pattern, stable isotopic data were obtained for individual rainfall events over a 2 yr period at Jeju Island, Korea. The δ18O- and δD-values of precipitation at Jeju Island are not dependent upon temperature. However, the deuterium excess values, which range from 3.0 to 40.6‰, show a distinct seasonal variation with higher d-values in winter (>~15‰) and lower values in summer (~10‰). Such a seasonal variation is closely related to different air masses affecting the island during different seasons: a cold-dry continental polar air mass in winter and a hot-humid maritime tropical air mass in summer.

KEY WORDS: Oxygen · Hydrogen · Isotopic composition · Precipitation · Deuterium excess values · Northeast Asia · Jeju Island · Korea

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