The oxygen isotopic composition ((H2O)-O-18/(H2O)-O-16) of water vapor samples over the tropical oceans has been measured at three locations during distinct meteorological regimes. (H2O)-O-18 concentrations were lowest in and downwind from the most highly organized precipitation systems and reflect the exposure of the air to extensive areas of rain. The tropical ice core record therefore reflects changes not only of temperature but also of average degree of organization of tropical rain systems during different climate regimes.
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