Seasonal trends in the stable isotopic composition of snow and meltwater runoff in a subarctic catchment at Okstindan, Norway
Gurney, S. D. and Lawrence, D. S. L. (2004) Seasonal trends in the stable isotopic composition of snow and meltwater runoff in a subarctic catchment at Okstindan, Norway. Nordic Hydrology, 35 (2). pp. 119-137. ISSN 0029-1277
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Seasonal variations in the stable isotopic composition of snow and meltwater were investigated in a sub-arctic, mountainous, but non-glacial, catchment at Okstindan in northern Norway based on analyses of delta(18)O and deltaD. Samples were collected during four field periods (August 1998; April 1999; June 1999 and August 1999) at three sites lying on an altitudinal transect (740-970 m a.s.l.). Snowpack data display an increase in the mean values of delta(18)O (increasing from a mean value of - 13.51 to - 11.49% between April and August), as well as a decrease in variability through the melt period. Comparison with a regional meteoric water line indicates that the slope of the delta(18)O - deltaD line for the snowpacks decreases over the same period, dropping from 7.49 to approximately 6.2. This change points to the role of evaporation in snowpack ablation and is confirmed by the vertical profile of deuterium excess. Snowpack seepage data, although limited, also suggest reduced values of deltaD, as might be associated with local evaporation during meltwater generation. In general, meltwaters were depleted in delta(18)O relative to the source snowpack at the peak of the melt (June), but later in the year (August) the difference between the two was not statistically significant. The diurnal pattern of isotopic composition indicates that the most depleted meltwaters coincide with the peak in temperature and, hence, meltwater production.