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PhD defense of Elisa Sosa Trujillo: Isotopic composition study of the precipitation and the water vapour in the subtropical region, Canary Islands

On 1 February 2016, Elisa Sosa Trujillo defended, at the University of La Laguna, her PhD Thesis entitled “Isotopic composition study of the precipitation and the water vapour in the subtropical region, Canary Islands”. The thesis was supervised by Dr. Juan Carlos Guerra García (University of La Laguna) and Dra. María Teresa Arencibia Pérez (University of La Laguna). This Thesis was developed at the University of La Laguna and it has been possible thanks to the collaboration agreement between the University and Izaña Atmospheric Research Centre (IARC) and also with the Spanish Airports and Air Navigation (AENA).  The dissertation was performed in the Faculty of Science, section Physic of the University of La Laguna and was evaluated by:

Dr. Emilio Cuevas Agulló (Izaña Atmospheric Research Centre)
Dra. María del Sol Manzano Arellano (University of Cartagena)
Dr. Axel Ritter Rodríguez (University of  La Laguna)

This thesis was carried out as part of the PhD program in Physics and Computer Science. This research was awarded with the maximum qualification Excellent Cum Laude.

Isotope hydrology is an emerging field of research. Since the relation between oxygen and hydrogen stable isotopes with climatic parameters and atmospheric circulation patterns was established, it became apparent that using the change in the isotopic composition of precipitation is a sensitive tool for studying climate in the present, past and future. The analysis of stable isotopes in precipitation, groundwater, surface water and atmospheric water vapour, has served to better understand the overall functioning of the hydrological cycle. The analysis of stable isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen, natural tracers, allows knowing the history of air masses.
In Canary Islands, studies based in isotopic composition have been made as a support of hydrogeological studies, where the main topic was the characterization of groundwater. Although there have been studies of the isotopic composition on the islands, none of them have a period of study as long as it is presented in this thesis, sampling both precipitation and atmospheric water vapour. This thesis is presented in order to provide data for this poorly studied area of the world and of great scientific interest because of its location and weather conditions. The main objective is isotopic composition of atmospheric water characterization in the liquid (precipitation) and vapour phases. There have been used three sampling stations, two of them are located in the marine boundary layer ( El Rayo and Taborno stations) and the other one is in the free troposphere (Izaña station). Back trajectories has been analysed to retrieve information of the air mass source and estimated history cloud mass. Altitudinal gradient is calculated using precipitation samplers. Finally, the trend of the isotopic composition in the sampling period is studied.

From left to right: Dra. María del Sol Manzano Arellano (UPCT), Dra. Elisa Sosa Trujillo (ULL/AEMET), Dr. Axel Ritter Rodríguez (ULL) and Dr. Emilio Cuevas Agulló (AEMET).