Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 16, Issue 11, pp 2605–2614 | Cite as

Spatial distribution of the oxygen-18 in precipitation in China based on a new empirical model

  • Pei Zhao
  • Zheng-sheng Guo
  • Dong-li She
  • Xiang-yu TangEmail author


Modeling the oxygen-18 in precipitation based on regional topography and meteorological factors is helpful to constrain missing isotopic data in some regions that is required for many paleoclimate, eco-hydrological and atmospheric circulation studies. Therefore, the relationship between δ18O in precipitation (δ18OPPT) and the affecting factors need to be thoroughly understood. We present a model considering the combined effects of temperature, altitude, and latitude on the spatial variability of annual average of stable isotopes in precipitation across China. This new model performed significantly better (P<0.05) than the widely used Farquhar and Bowen & Wilkinson models. Our model allows modelling the spatial distribution of isotopes in precipitation depending on temperature variation. The residuals of presented model did not significantly correlate with altitude. Based on the model and residuals, a high-resolution map of annual average δ18Oppt across China was generated. δ18Oppt decreased from low toward high latitudes and from low towards high altitudes area. The model application provides important information for ancient climate, hydrological cycle and water vapor sources studies.


Climate change Isotope hydrology Geographic information Spatial distribution 


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This work was financially supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (41790431 and 41471188), the Innovative Talents Promotion Plan in Shaanxi Province (2017-KJXX-74) and the CAS “Light of West China” Program. We would like to thank the editor and anonymous reviewers for their help in improving the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyShangluo UniversityShangluoChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Mountain Surface Processes and Ecological Regulation, Institute of Mountain Hazards and EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesChengduChina
  3. 3.College of Urban and Environment SciencesShanxi Normal UniversityLinfenChina
  4. 4.State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Research Center of Soil and Water Conservation and Ecological EnvironmentChinese Academy of Sciences & Ministry of EducationYanglingChina

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