Synoptic scale controls on the δ18O in precipitation across Beringia

Hannah L. Bailey, Darrell S. Kaufman, Andrew C.G. Henderson, Melanie J. Leng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Oxygen isotope records of precipitation (δ18Oprecip) from Beringia are thought to reflect synoptic-scale circulation changes associated with the Aleutian Low. To delineate the spatial pattern of δ18Oprecip associated with the two dominant modes of Aleutian Low circulation, we combine modern δ18Oprecip and deuterium excess data with climate reanalysis and back trajectory modeling. Aleutian Low strength and position are revealed to systematically affect regional moisture source and δ18Oprecip; whereby a strengthened Aleutian Low causes lower (higher) δ18Oprecip in western (eastern) Beringia. We compare a new 100 year long δ18O record from the Aleutian Islands with the North Pacific Index, the primary indicator of Aleutian Low strength, and find a significant positive relationship (r = 0.43, P < 0.02, n = 28) that tracks late twentieth century change. This study demonstrates synoptic-scale circulation controls on our isotope record and provides a coherent framework for interpreting existing and emerging paleoisotope data from the region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4608-4616
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 16 2015


  • Alaska
  • Aleutian Low
  • North Pacific Index
  • oxygen isotopes
  • precipitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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