Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2015.08.001
Title (Primary) Isotopic and chemical composition of precipitation in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Author Michelsen, N.; Reshid, M.; Siebert, C.; Schulz, S.; Knöller, K.; Weise, S.M.; Rausch, R.; Al-Saud, M.; Schüth, C.
Journal Chemical Geology
Year 2015
Department CATHYD
Volume 413
Page From 51
Page To 62
Language englisch
Keywords Stable isotopes; Local Meteoric Water Line; HYSPLIT back-trajectories; Tritium; Precipitation chemistry; Arabian Peninsula
UFZ wide themes RU2;

Only limited data on the isotopic and chemical composition of Riyadh rain are currently available. In this study, we complement these data by analyzing integral samples covering 28 precipitation events between 2009 and 2013. Results of stable isotope analyses are used to establish a Local Meteoric Water Line: δ2H = 5.22(± 0.38) · δ18O + 14.8(± 0.9) ‰. Moisture source-related isotopic fingerprints are masked by the continental effect, the altitude effect, sub-cloud evaporation, and moisture recycling. The study of one event for intra-storm variability revealed strong isotopic depletion due to rainout and Rayleigh distillation processes, thus highlighting the general need for integral samples. Tritium analyses of grab samples from 12 events yielded concentrations between 2.8 and 6.4 tritium units (TU), which are close to the natural background of a few TU.

Major ion concentrations and ratios indicate that solutes are predominantly derived from atmospheric dust originating from limestone outcrops and sabkha deposits. The latter play a role with respect to the elevated Cland Na+ contents, but are probably also responsible for the SO42 −and a part of the Ca2 + found in Riyadh rain. Observed intra- and inter-storm variabilities of major ion levels necessitate the collection of integral samples and the calculation of precipitation-weighted means, respectively.

The obtained isotopic signatures and the precipitation-weighted mean Clconcentration (9.5 mg L− 1) may be useful in groundwater assessments, e.g., for the identification of modern recharge and quantification thereof by means of the Chloride Mass Balance method.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Michelsen, N., Reshid, M., Siebert, C., Schulz, S., Knöller, K., Weise, S.M., Rausch, R., Al-Saud, M., Schüth, C. (2015):
Isotopic and chemical composition of precipitation in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Chem. Geol. 413 , 51 - 62