Science China Earth Sciences

, Volume 61, Issue 10, pp 1523–1532 | Cite as

Hydrologic implications of the isotopic kinetic fractionation of open-water evaporation

  • Wei XiaoEmail author
  • Yufei Qian
  • Xuhui LeeEmail author
  • Wei Wang
  • Mi Zhang
  • Xuefa Wen
  • Shoudong Liu
  • Yongbo Hu
  • Chengyu Xie
  • Zhen Zhang
  • Xuesong Zhang
  • Xiaoyan Zhao
  • Fucun Zhang
Research Paper


The kinetic fractionation of open-water evaporation against the stable water isotope H218O is an important mechanism underlying many hydrologic studies that use 18O as an isotopic tracer. A recent in-situ measurement of the isotopic water vapor flux over a lake indicates that the kinetic effect is much weaker (kinetic factor 6.2‰) than assumed previously (kinetic factor 14.2‰) by lake isotopic budget studies. This study investigates the implications of the weak kinetic effect for studies of deuterium excess-humidity relationships, regional moisture recycling, and global evapotranspiration partitioning. The results indicate that the low kinetic factor is consistent with the deuterium excess-humidity relationships observed over open oceans. The moisture recycling rate in the Great Lakes region derived from the isotopic tracer method with the low kinetic factor is a much better agreement with those from atmospheric modeling studies than if the default kinetic factor of 14.2‰ is used. The ratio of transpiration to evapotranspiration at global scale decreases from 84±9% (with the default kinetic factor) to 76±19% (with the low kinetic factor), the latter of which is in slightly better agreement with other non-isotopic partitioning results.


Kinetic fractionation factor Craig-Gordon model Moisture recycling Evapotranspiration partitioning Deuterium excess 


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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41475141, 41830860, 41575147 & 41505005), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (Grant No. 2016YFC0500102), the U. S. National Science Foundation (Grant No. 1520684), the Science and Technology Department of Ningxia (Grant No. 2015KJHM34), the China Special Fund for Meteorological Research in the Public Interest (Major projects, Grant No. GYHY201506001-6), the NUIST Scientific Foundation (Grant No. KLME1415), the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (Grant No. PAPD), and the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China (Grant No. PCSIRT).

Supplementary material

11430_2018_9246_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (2.3 mb)
Appendix 1 Derivation of the equations for kinetic fractionation factor


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wei Xiao
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yufei Qian
    • 1
  • Xuhui Lee
    • 2
    Email author
  • Wei Wang
    • 3
  • Mi Zhang
    • 1
  • Xuefa Wen
    • 4
  • Shoudong Liu
    • 1
  • Yongbo Hu
    • 1
  • Chengyu Xie
    • 1
  • Zhen Zhang
    • 1
  • Xuesong Zhang
    • 1
  • Xiaoyan Zhao
    • 1
  • Fucun Zhang
    • 3
  1. 1.Yale-NUIST Center on Atmospheric Environment & Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center of Atmospheric Environment and Equipment Technology (CICAEET)Nanjing University of Information Science & TechnologyNanjingChina
  2. 2.School of Forestry and Environmental StudiesYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Agricultural MeteorologyNanjing University of Information Science & TechnologyNanjingChina
  4. 4.Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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