Characteristics of water stable isotopes and hydrograph separation in Baishui catchment during the wet season in Mt.Yulong region, south western China

Authors

  • Tao Pu,

    Corresponding author
    1. Research School of Arid Environment and Climate Change, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
    2. State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
    • Correspondence to: Tao Pu, Research School of Arid Environment and Climate Change, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China.

      Email: tao_pu@yahoo.com.cn

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  • Yuanqing He,

    1. Research School of Arid Environment and Climate Change, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
    2. State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
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  • Guofeng Zhu,

    1. College of Geography and Environment Science of Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China
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  • Ningning Zhang,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
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  • Jiankuo Du,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
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  • Chunfeng Wang

    1. Research School of Arid Environment and Climate Change, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
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Abstract

Glaciers are of crucial importance for the livelihood of the local populations, which depend on their meltwater for water and energy supplies. For this reason, seasonal variations of oxygen-18 of glacial stream water and their sources within a small glacial catchment in south western China were investigated during the wet season. The results showed significant difference of oxygen-18 existed among meltwater, rainwater, ground water and stream water, and significantly seasonal variation of precipitation occurred during the observed period. The streamflow of Baishui catchment was separated into components of ice-snowmelt and precipitation using oxygen-18. As shown by the result of the two-component mixing model, on average, 53.4% of the runoff came from ice-snowmelt during the wet season, whereas the remaining 46.6% were contributed by precipitation in the catchment. According to monthly hydrograph, the contribution of snow and glacier meltwater varied from 40.7% to 62.2%, and that of precipitation varied from 37.8% to 59.3% in wet season. Uncertainties for this separation were mainly caused by the variation of tracer concentrations. The roles of glacier and snow meltwater should be noticed in water resource management in those glacial regions in south western China. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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