Numerical experiments on the impacts of surface evaporation and fractionation factors on stable isotopes in precipitation

Xinping Zhang, Huade Guan, Xinzhu Zhang, Wanjun Zhang, Tianci Yao

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    9 Citations (Scopus)


    The isotope enabled atmospheric water balance model is applied to examine the spatial and temporal variations of δ 18 O in precipitation, amount effect and meteoric water lines (MWL) under four scenarios with different fractionation nature and surface evaporation inputs. The experiments are conducted under the same weather forcing in the framework of the water balance and stable water isotope balance. Globally, the spatial patterns of mean δ 18 O and global MWLs simulated by four simulation tests are in reasonably good agreement with the Global Network of Isotopes in Precipitation observations. The results indicate that the assumptions of equilibrium fractionation for simulating spatial distribution in mean annual δ 18 O and the global MWL, and kinetic fractionation in simulating δ 18 O seasonality are acceptable. In Changsha, four simulation tests all reproduce the observed seasonal variations of δ 18 O in precipitation. Compared with equilibrium fractionation, the depleted degree of stable isotopes in precipitation is enhanced under kinetic fractionation, in company with a decrease of isotopic seasonality and inter-event variability. The alteration of stable isotopes in precipitation caused by the seasonal variation of stable isotopes in vapour evaporated from the surface is opposite between cold and warm seasons. Four simulations all produce the amount effect commonly observed in monsoon areas. Under kinetic fractionation, the slope of simulated amount effect is closer to the observed one than other scenarios. The MWL for warm and humid climate in monsoon areas are well simulated too. The slopes and intercepts of the simulated MWLs decrease under kinetic fractionation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)327-339
    Number of pages13
    JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Sciences
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


    • comparison
    • evaporation
    • fractionation
    • simulation test
    • Stable water isotope


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