Hydrometeorological factors controlling the stable isotopic composition of precipitation in the highlands of south Ecuador

Darío X. Zhiña, Giovanny M. Mosquera, Germain Esquivel-Hernández, Mario Córdova, Ricardo Sánchez-Murillo, Johanna Orellana-Alvear, Patricio Crespo

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva

11 Citas (Scopus)


Knowledge about precipitation generation remains limited in the tropical Andes due to the lack of water stable isotope (WSI) data. Therefore, we investigated the key factors controlling the isotopic composition of precipitation in the Páramo highlands of southern Ecuador using event-based (high frequency) WSI data collected between November 2017 and October 2018. Our results show that air masses reach the study site preferentially from the eastern flank of the Andes through the Amazon basin (73.2%), the Orinoco plains (11.2%), and the Mato Grosso Massif (2.7%), whereas only a small proportion stems from the Pacific Ocean (12.9%). A combination of local and regional factors influences the δ18O isotopic composition of precipitation. Regional atmospheric features (Atlantic moisture, evapotranspiration over the Amazon Forest, continental rain-out, and altitudinal lapse rates) are what largely control the meteoric δ18O composition. Local precipitation, temperature, and the fraction of precipitation corresponding to moderate to heavy rainfalls are also key features influencing isotopic ratios, highlighting the importance of localized convective precipitation at the study site. Contrary to δ18O, d-excess values showed little temporal variation and could not be statistically linked to regional or local hydrometeorological features. The latter reveals that large amounts of recycled moisture from the Amazon basin contributes to local precipitation regardless of season and predominant trajectories from the east. Our findings will help to improve the isotope-based climatic models and enhance paleoclimate reconstructions in the southern Ecuador highlands.

Idioma originalInglés
PublicaciónJournal of Hydrometeorology
EstadoPublicada - 2022
Publicado de forma externa


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