The isotopic analysis of precipitation provides useful information on a variety of hydrological and atmospheric processes. The dynamical characteristics of precipitation isotopes have been well investigated, but a systematic study of their statistical behavior seems to be lacking. We have performed the statistical analysis, basically the distribution characteristics of precipitation isotopes vis-a-vis rainfall data for specific regions. The probability distribution functions of precipitation isotopes have been calculated from local to global scales. It has been observed that the isotopic values, in general, followed a pattern that is similar to the normal distribution, though the rainfall distribution patterns are very different. Under certain circumstances, the isotopic distribution patterns closely resemble the normal distribution, implying a well-constrained moisture source contributing to precipitation. The distribution patterns of oxygen and hydrogen isotopes on continental and global scales show similar behavior. It was observed that the distribution patterns of primary isotopic variables (δ18O and δD) are not very sensitive to the outliers. On the contrary, the secondary parameter, d-excess, is very sensitive to outliers, which offers an effective means to quality control of the precipitation isotopic values.
Part of the book: Hydrology