Dynamic processes governing lower-tropospheric HDO/H2O ratios as observed from space and ground
The hydrological cycle and its response to environmental variability such as temperature changes is of prime importance for climate reconstruction and prediction. We retrieved deuterated water/water (HDO/H2O) abundances using spaceborne absorption spectroscopy, providing an almost global perspective on the near-surface distribution of water vapor isotopologs. We observed an unexpectedly high HDO/H2O seasonality in the inner Sahel region, pointing to a strong isotopic depletion in the subsiding branch of the Hadley circulation and its misrepresentation in general circulation models. An extension of the analysis at high latitudes using ground-based observations of (delta D) over bar and a model study shows that dynamic processes can entirely compensate for temperature effects on the isotopic composition of precipitation.