Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions ›› 2016, Vol. 8 ›› Issue (5): 378-387.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1226.2016.00378

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Effect of sub-cloud evaporation on the δ18O of precipitation in Qilian Mountains and Hexi Corridor, China

ZongXing Li1, Qi Feng1, YaMin Wang2, JianGuo Li1, XiaoYan Guo1, YongGe Li1   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Ecohydrology of Inland River Basins/Gansu Hydrology and Water Resources Engineering Research Center, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, Gansu 730000, China;
    2. Changsha Normal University, Changsha, Hunan 410100, China
  • Received:2016-04-18 Revised:2016-06-17 Published:2018-11-23
  • Contact: Ph.D., ZongXing Li, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences. No. 320, West Donggang Road, Lanzhou, Gansu 730000, China. Tel:86-931-4967336;
  • Supported by:
    This study was supported by a West Light Program for Talent Cultivation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Gansu Province Science Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholars (No. 1506RJDA282), the National Natural Science Foundation (No. 91547102), the CAS/SAFEA International Partnership Program for Creative Research Teams, a postdoctoral fellowship of ZongXing Li in the International Exchange Plans from the China Postdoctoral Association (No. 20140043), and the Youth Innovation Promotion Association, CAS (No. 2013274). Thanks also to the editorial staff.

Abstract: The sub-cloud evaporation effect refers to the evaporation process for raindrops that fall from the cloud base to the ground, which is usually accompanied by depleted light isotopes and enriched heavy isotopes in the precipitation. Based on 461 event-based precipitation samples collected from 12 weather stations in the Qilian Mountains and the Hexi Corridor from May to August of 2013, our results indicated that sub-cloud evaporation has a great influence on the δ18O of precipitation, especially in small-amount precipitation events. In May, June, July, and August the δ18O composition was enriched by 35%, 26%, 39%, and 41%, respectively, from the cloud base to the ground. This influence clearly strengthened with temperature rise, from the Qilian Mountains to the Hexi Corridor. When falling raindrops are evaporated by 1.0% in the Qilian Mountains and the Hexi Corridor, the composition of δ18O would be enriched by 1.2% and 2.6%, respectively. Temperature dominated the sub-cloud evaporation in the Qilian Mountains, whereas relative humidity controlled it in the Hexi Corridor. These results provide new proofs of the evolutional process of stable isotopes in precipitation in arid regions.

Key words: sub-cloud evaporation, precipitation, stable isotope, Qilian Mountains

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