Rainfall, temperature and relative humidity effects on Oxygen isotope levels
Keywords:Oxygen isotope levels, Belize, Natural Resource Management
Global warming is the foremost societal issue facing humankind in the 21st century. Its impacts have resulted in shifts in rainfall patterns that have greatly impacted a wide range of things from agriculture to changes in Tropical cyclones (TC’s) rate striking the Caribbean countries. As predictions have stated the change in temperature has led to an increasing amount of weather phenomena that was never seen before. In this study, monthly cave monitoring of air and drip water temperatures and humidity was conducted using two HOBOware located at different sites inside the cave. Rainfall variability was also collected monthly from sites, located at the University of Belize central campus and another one at Actun Coh cave. Furthermore, geographic mapping of the cave location by ArcGIS program was carried out. The results showed that the mean temperature for site 1 was 23.016°C ± 0.282; while for site 2 was 22.681°C ± 0.287 for a period of 3 months studied. A difference of 0.335°C was observed between the two sites. The humidity levels for both sites remained constant at 100%. The rainfall amount at Actun Coh cave was greater than the one collected at UB campus; while the temperatures of the rainfall is less at the cave site than at UB campus site. Therefore, a difference of 1.56 mm and 6°C was obtained from both locations of its rainfall activity within the 3 month time. Isotope levels within the cave show less readings within the cave drip (p=0.235) than the rainfall isotope levels (p=0.380). This implies that rainfall, temperatures and humidity levels all influences the level of isotopes within cave drips that forms stalagmites. The data obtained in this study contributes to a bigger study that is ongoing until the end of 2018. While limited conclusions can be drawn from this study due to only 3 months of data gathered, it is clear that environmental conditions inside Actun Coh cave remains relatively constant.