A new method of snowmelt sampling for water stable isotopes

Hydrological Processes
By: , and 



We modified a passive capillary sampler (PCS) to collect snowmelt water for isotopic analysis. Past applications of PCSs have been to sample soil water, but the novel aspect of this study was the placement of the PCSs at the ground-snowpack interface to collect snowmelt. We deployed arrays of PCSs at 11 sites in ten partner countries on five continents representing a range of climate and snow cover worldwide. The PCS reliably collected snowmelt at all sites and caused negligible evaporative fractionation effects in the samples. PCS is low-cost, easy to install, and collects a representative integrated snowmelt sample throughout the melt season or at the melt event scale. Unlike snow cores, the PCS collects the water that would actually infiltrate the soil; thus, its isotopic composition is appropriate to use for tracing snowmelt water through the hydrologic cycle. The purpose of this Briefing is to show the potential advantages of PCSs and recommend guidelines for constructing and installing them based on our preliminary results from two snowmelt seasons.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title A new method of snowmelt sampling for water stable isotopes
Series title Hydrological Processes
DOI 10.1002/hyp.10273
Volume 28
Issue 22
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) NH/VT office of New England Water Science Center
Description 8 p.
First page 5637
Last page 5644
Country Argentina, Canada, Georgia, Italy, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, United States
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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