Deuterium Content of Snow Cores from Sierra Nevada Area

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Science  31 Jul 1970:
Vol. 169, Issue 3944, pp. 467-470
DOI: 10.1126/science.169.3944.467


The relative deuterium content was measured on 37 snow cores collected in April 1969 in the Sierra Nevada. The deuterium content varies inversely with altitude of collection (approximately 40 per mil per 1000 meters) but is unrelated to latitude. The altitude relationship is particularly well defined west of the crest of the range but is not well defined east of the crest. However, samples from east of the crest tend to be depleted by about 10 to 15 per mil relative to samples collected at the same elevation west of the crest. We propose that the deuterium content of snow cores, collected so as to include the total winter's precipitation, can be used as a climatic indicator to compare the climate of one winter with that of another.

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