Rainfall isotope variations over the Australian continent – implications for hydrology and isoscape applications

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Elsevier B. V.
This paper presents a continental scale interpretation of δ2H and δ18O in Australian precipitation, incorporating historical GNIP data at seven sites (1962–2002) and 8–12 years of new monthly data from 15 sites from 2003 to 2014. The more than doubling of stations and the significant time series duration allow for an improved analysis of Australian precipitation isotopes. Local meteoric water lines were developed for each site, and for the Australian continent. When the annual precipitation weighted values were used, the Australian meteoric water line was δ2H = 8.3 δ18O + 14.1‰. Precipitation amount was found to be a stronger driver of precipitation isotopes than temperature at most sites, particularly those affected by tropical cyclones and the monsoon. Latitude, elevation and distance from the coast were found to be stronger drivers of spatial variability than temperature or rainfall amount. Annual isoscapes of δ2H, δ18O and deuterium excess were developed, providing an improved tool to estimate precipitation isotope inputs to hydrological systems. Because of the complex climate, weather and oceanic moisture sources affecting Australia, regional groupings were used instead of the climate zone approach and additional data was included to improve the coverage in data poor regions. Regression equations for the isoscape were derived using latitude, altitude and distance from the coast as predictor variables. We demonstrate how this isoscape can be used as a tool for interpreting groundwater recharge processes using examples from across Queensland and New South Wales, including the Murray Darling Basin. Groundwater isotopes at sites where direct local recharge occurs are similar to rainfall, but for inland sites, which are often arid or semi-arid, a disconnect between shallow groundwater and local rainfall is observed; the departure in deuterium excess for these sites increases with aridity and distance from the headwaters where flooding originates. Crown Copyright © 2018 Published by Elsevier B.V.
Deuterium, Oxygen, Atmospheric precipitations, Ground water, Australia, Hydrology, Isotopes, Rain water, Queensland, New South Wales, Floods
Hollins, S. E., Hughes, C. E., Crawford, J., Cendón, D. I., & Meredith, K. T. (2018). Rainfall isotope variations over the Australian continent – implications for hydrology and isoscape applications. Science of The Total Environment, 645, 630-645. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.07.082