Stable Isotopes in Precipitation, Surface, and Ground Waters: Recording the North American Monsoon in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah

EPA Grant Number: FP917808
Title: Stable Isotopes in Precipitation, Surface, and Ground Waters: Recording the North American Monsoon in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah
Investigators: Tulley-Cordova, Crystal Lynn
Institution: University of Utah
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: September 1, 2015 through August 31, 2018
Project Amount: $132,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2015) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships

Objective:

The objective of this research is to examine relationship between North American Monsoon precipitation, surface, and ground waters across the Navajo Nation. This work will address the following questions: What are the spatial and temporal distribution differences of water isotopes in precipitation waters across the Navajo Nation? What are precipitation contributions from the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of California? What are the correlations and differences between precipitation stable isotopic values and associated waters (surface and ground waters) across the Navajo Nation?

Approach:

Legacy hydrological data collected by the Navajo Nation Water Management Branch and meteorological data collected by government agencies will be integrated with this study's stable isotopic ratios of water on the Navajo Nation to examine the spatial and temporal variations in precipitation, surface,and ground waters in the Four Corner's region of the USA. For several decades hydrologists have recognized that stable isotope ratios of hydrogen and oxygen can be used to distinguish the origin of water in precipitation, surface and ground waters. By using stable isotopes, we can identify the precipitation contributions on the Navajo Nation from the Gulf of California and the Gulf of Mexico. This research will help determine if there is spatial and temporal variation in the blend of summer precipitation from the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of California.

Expected Results:

Examination of hydroclimatic changes across the Navajo Nation will provide evidence for spatial and temporal variability in North American Monsoon precipitation and associated waters. Stable isotopic research will provide unique and critical information that will aid understanding how different oceanic water sources contribute to monsoon precipitation in the Navajo Nation and how monsoon precipitation contributes to and affects surface, ground and spring water sources.

Supplemental Keywords:

stable isotopes, precipitation, groundwater, North American Monsoon

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2016
  • 2017
  • Final