Table of Contents
International Journal of Atmospheric Sciences
Volume 2014, Article ID 250920, 16 pages
Review Article

A Review of Water Isotopes in Atmospheric General Circulation Models: Recent Advances and Future Prospects

Environmental Science and Engineering, California Institute of Technology, 1200 East California Boulevard, MC 150-21, Pasadena, CA, USA

Received 1 June 2014; Revised 23 July 2014; Accepted 24 July 2014; Published 24 September 2014

Academic Editor: Helena A. Flocas

Copyright © 2014 Xi Xi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Stable water isotopologues, mainly 1H2O, 1H2HO (HDO), and , are useful tracers for processes in the global hydrological cycle. The incorporation of water isotopes into Atmospheric General Circulation Models (AGCMs) since 1984 has helped scientists gain substantial new insights into our present and past climate. In recent years, there have been several significant advances in water isotopes modeling in AGCMs. This paper reviews and synthesizes key advances accomplished in modeling (1) surface evaporation, (2) condensation, (3) supersaturation, (4) postcondensation processes, (5) vertical distribution of water isotopes, and (6) spatial δ18O-temperature slope and utilizing (1) spectral nudging technique, (2) higher model resolutions, and (3) coupled atmosphere-ocean models. It also reviews model validation through comparisons of model outputs and ground-based and spaceborne measurements. In the end, it identifies knowledge gaps and discusses future prospects of modeling and model validation.