Die Bodenkultur - Journal for Land Management, Food and Environment

L. Holko, M. Danko, M. Doša, Z. Kostka, M.Šanda, L. Pfister and J.F. Iffly:

Spatial and temporal variability of stable water isotopes in snow related hydrological processes


We monitored variability of δ18O and δ2O in the snow-related part of a hydrological cycle (snowfall, snow cover, snowmelt, soil water, groundwater and streams) in mountain catchments of northern Slovakia in winters 2011 and 2012. Unexpected negative altitude gradients of δ18O and δ2O were found for almost all snowfalls. The isotopic composition of snow cover during a snow-poor winter was spatially more variable than during a snow-rich winter. Light snow water was visible in the soils (at depths of 51–71 cm) at least until the middle of June. Isotopic signals of snowmelt water significantly depended on the device used to collect the water samples. The isotopic composition of streams of different orders during snowmelt periods pointed out the different regimes of the snowmelt in the main river valley and in the mountains.

Key words:  Snow hydrology, δ18O and δ2O, mountains.