Changes in the O and H isotopes in precipitation have been linked to greenhouse warming, but no signal attributable to Amazonian deforestation has been reported. Recent data from the Andes exhibit a seasonally contrasting signal which is consistent with large-area removal of forest. Specifically, at Izobamba, in the far west of the basin, the seasonality in isotopic depletions has become enhanced between 1972 and 2000. The observed more negative isotopic ratios in the wet season are consistent with increases in runoff fraction and/or reductions in recycling through non-fractionating processes. The dry season result (statistically significant less negative isotopic ratios) is harder to explain and could be due to a decrease in fractionating recycling (i.e. partial evaporation from water bodies). Application of a simple isotopic catchment model suggests that these isotopic changes in precipitation may be the result of large-scale deforestation in the Amazon Basin. Isotopically-enabled numerical models are needed to establish regional validity.
- Stable water isotopes