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Open AccessArticle

Characteristics of Water Isotopes and Water Source Identification During the Wet Season in Naqu River Basin, Qinghai–Tibet Plateau

1
School of Hydraulic Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian 116024, China
2
Department of Water Conservancy Engineering, North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power, Zhengzhou 450046, China
3
Collaborative Innovation Center of Water Resources Efficient Utilization and Support Engineering, Zhengzhou 450046, China
4
Water Resources Department, China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing 100038, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(11), 2418; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11112418
Received: 8 October 2019 / Revised: 15 November 2019 / Accepted: 15 November 2019 / Published: 18 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Use of Water Stable Isotopes in Hydrological Process)
Climate change is affecting the discharge of headstreams from mountainous areas on the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau. To constrain future changes in discharge, it is important to understand the present-day formation mechanism and components of runoff in the basin. Here we explore the sources of runoff and spatial variations in discharge through measurements of δ2H and δ18O in the Naqu River, at the source of the Nu River, on the Qinghai–Tibet plateau, during the month of August from 2016 to 2018. We established thirteen sampling sites on the main stream and tributaries, and collected 39 samples from the river. We examined all the water samples and analyzed them for isotopes. We find a significant spatial variation trend based on one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) (p < 0.05) between Main stream-2 and tributaries. The local meteoric water-line (LMWL) can be described as: δ2H = 7.9δ18O + 6.29. Isotopic evaporative fractionation in water and mixing of different water sources are responsible for the spatial difference in isotopic values between Main stream-2 and tributaries. Based on isotopic hydrograph separation, the proportion of snowmelt in runoff components ranges from 15% to 47%, and the proportion of rainwater ranges from 3% to 35%. Thus, the main components of runoff in the Naqu River are snowmelt and groundwater. View Full-Text
Keywords: stable isotopes; spatial variations; hydrograph separation; Naqu River basin; Qinghai–Tibet Plateau stable isotopes; spatial variations; hydrograph separation; Naqu River basin; Qinghai–Tibet Plateau
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Chen, X.; Wang, G.; Wang, F.; Yan, D.; Zhao, H. Characteristics of Water Isotopes and Water Source Identification During the Wet Season in Naqu River Basin, Qinghai–Tibet Plateau. Water 2019, 11, 2418.

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