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Journal of Arid Land  2016, Vol. 8 Issue (6): 973-985    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-016-0091-y
Research Articles     
The distribution of isotopes and chemicals in precipitation in Shule River Basin, northwestern China: an implication for water cycle and groundwater recharge
ZHAO Wei, MA Jinzhu*, GU Chunjie, QI Shi, ZHU Gaofeng, HE Jiahua
Key Laboratory of Western China’s Environmental Systems (Ministry of Education), College of Earth Environmental Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
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Abstract  The distribution of stable isotopes and ions in precipitation in the Shule River Basin, northwestern China, were investigated to understand the regional water cycle and precipitation input to groundwater recharge. The study found that the mean annual concentrations of Ca2+, Na+, SO42–, Cl, Mg2+, NO3, and K+ in the basin were lower than those in other arid areas of northwestern China. The average concentrations of ions in the lower reaches of the Shule River were higher than those in the upper reaches. The results showed that the main ionic concentrations decreased with the increase of precipitation amount, indicating that heavy precipitation cannot only wash crustal aerosols out of the atmosphere, but also create a dilution effect. Cl– and Na+ in precipitation had a strong and positive correlation, suggesting a common origin for the two ions. However, the excess of Na+, combined with non-marine SO42– and NO3, indicated that some ions were contributed by terrestrial origins. In the extremely arid regions of northwestern China, the evaporation process obviously changes the original relationship between δ2H and δ18O in precipitation, and leads to d-excess values <8‰. δ18O and temperature were significantly correlated, suggested that temperature strongly affected the characteristics of isotopes in the study area. The δ18O value indicates a dominant effect of westerly air masses and southwest monsoon in warm months, and the integrated influence of westerly and Siberian-Mongolian polar air masses in cold months. The d-excess values were generally lower in warm months than those in cold months, indicating that post-condensation processes played a significant role in the water cycle. The results provide reliable precipitation input information that can be used in future groundwater recharge calculations in the study area.

Key wordscarbon storage      biomass      coniferous      deciduous      central Iran     
Received: 15 October 2015      Published: 01 December 2016

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41271039), the Open Foundation of Key Laboratory of Western China’s Environmental System (Ministry of Education), Lanzhou University and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (lzujbky-2015-bt01).

Corresponding Authors: MA Jinzhu     E-mail:
Cite this article:

ZHAO Wei, MA Jinzhu, GU Chunjie, QI Shi, ZHU Gaofeng, HE Jiahua. The distribution of isotopes and chemicals in precipitation in Shule River Basin, northwestern China: an implication for water cycle and groundwater recharge. Journal of Arid Land, 2016, 8(6): 973-985.

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