Stable isotope signatures of seasonal precipitation on the Pacific coast of central Panama

Zoltán Kern, Russell S. Harmon, István Fórizs

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As calculated from data archived in the IAEA-WMO Global Network of Isotopes in Precipitation programme, the amount-weighted local meteoric water line for the Pacific coast of central Panama is: δ2H = 7.63(±0.08) × δ18O + 6.51(±0.49). Amount-weighted mean isotopic values were regressed against the sea surface temperature (SST) fields of the adjacent tropical oceans. A negative correlation of precipitation isotope composition with Caribbean SSTs is observed only for the early wet season (May–June), whilst the mid-summer dry period is characterized by positive correlation with eastern Pacific SSTs, similar to the late wet season (October–November). The negative response of May–June rainfall isotopic composition to Caribbean SSTs is explained by a SST-mediated change in stratiform rain fraction from organized convective systems proximal to the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). The positive correlation for the rest of the wet season, when the organized convective zone of ITCZ and its attached stratiform belt are distant from the Pacific coast of Panama, is interpreted as simple evaporative temperature effect on isotopic fractionation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-140
Number of pages13
JournalIsotopes in Environmental and Health Studies
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 3 2016



  • Panama
  • evaporation
  • hydrogen-2
  • isotope fractionation
  • isotope hydrology
  • meteoric water line
  • ocean
  • oxygen-18
  • precipitation
  • tropical hydrometeorology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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