Articles | Volume 17, issue 11
Research article
29 Nov 2013
Research article |  | 29 Nov 2013

Global isoscapes for δ18O and δ2H in precipitation: improved prediction using regionalized climatic regression models

S. Terzer, L. I. Wassenaar, L. J. Araguás-Araguás, and P. K. Aggarwal

Abstract. A regionalized cluster-based water isotope prediction (RCWIP) approach, based on the Global Network of Isotopes in Precipitation (GNIP), was demonstrated for the purposes of predicting point- and large-scale spatio-temporal patterns of the stable isotope composition (δ2H, δ18O) of precipitation around the world. Unlike earlier global domain and fixed regressor models, RCWIP predefined 36 climatic cluster domains and tested all model combinations from an array of climatic and spatial regressor variables to obtain the best predictive approach to each cluster domain, as indicated by root-mean-squared error (RMSE) and variogram analysis. Fuzzy membership fractions were thereafter used as the weights to seamlessly amalgamate results of the optimized climatic zone prediction models into a single predictive mapping product, such as global or regional amount-weighted mean annual, mean monthly, or growing-season δ18O/δ2H in precipitation. Comparative tests revealed the RCWIP approach outperformed classical global-fixed regression–interpolation-based models more than 67% of the time, and clearly improved upon predictive accuracy and precision. All RCWIP isotope mapping products are available as gridded GeoTIFF files from the IAEA website ( and are for use in hydrology, climatology, food authenticity, ecology, and forensics.