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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-229
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Comment/reply 08 May 2018

Comment/reply | 08 May 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Comment on “Origin of water in the Badain Jaran Desert, China: new insight from isotopes” by Wu et al. (2017)

Lucheng Zhan1, Jiansheng Chen2, Ling Li3, and David Andrew Barry4 Lucheng Zhan et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing, 210098, China
  • 2College of Earth Sciences and Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing, 210098, China
  • 3School of Civil Engineering, the University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
  • 4Laboratoire de technologie écologique (ECOL), Institut d’ingénierie de l’environnement (IIE), Faculté de l’environnement naturel, architectural et construit (ENAC), Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Station 2, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

Abstract. Precipitation isotope data were used to determine the origin of groundwater in the Badain Jaran Desert (BJD) in the study of Wu et al. (2017). Both precipitation and its isotopic composition vary seasonally, so arithmetic averages of precipitation isotope values poorly represent the isotope composition of meteoric water. Their finding that the BJD groundwater is recharged by modern meteoric water from local areas including the southeastern adjacent mountains was based on arithmetic averaging. However, this conclusion is not supported by the corrected mean precipitation isotope values, which are weighted by the precipitation rate. Indeed, the available isotopic evidence shows that modern precipitation on the Qilian Mountains is more likely to be the main source of the groundwater and lake water in the BJD, as found by Chen et al. (2004).

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Using the arithmetic averages of precipitation isotope values, Wu et al. (2017) concluded that the Badain Jaran Desert (BJD) groundwater is recharged by modern local meteoric water. However, based on weighted mean precipitation isotope values, our further analysis shows that modern precipitation on the Qilian Mountains is more likely to be the main source of the groundwater and lake water in the BJD, asd found. We believe this comment provides an important improvement for their study.
Using the arithmetic averages of precipitation isotope values, Wu et al. (2017) concluded that...
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