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Discussion papers | Copyright
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Research article 12 Feb 2018

Research article | 12 Feb 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Evaluation of Lacustrine Groundwater Discharge, Hydrologic Partitioning, and Nutrient Budgets in a Proglacial Lake in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau: Using 222Rn and Stable Isotopes

Xin Luo1,2, Xing Xing Kuang3, Jiu Jimmy Jiao1,2, Sihai Liang4, Rong Mao1,3, Xiaolang Zhang1,3, and Hailong Li3 Xin Luo et al.
  • 1Department of Earth Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, P. R. China
  • 2The University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen Research Institute (SRI), Shenzhen, P. R. China
  • 3School of Environmental Science and Engineering, South University of Science and Technology of China (SUSTC), Shenzhen, China
  • 4School of Water Resources & Environment, China University of Geosciences, 29 Xueyuan Road, Beijing, China

Abstract. Proglacial lakes are good natural laboratories to investigate groundwater and glacier dynamics under current climate condition and to explore primary productivity under pristine lake status. This study conducted a series of investigations of 222Rn, stable isotopes, nutrients and other hydrogeochemical parameters in Ximen Co Lake, a remote proglacial lake in the east of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP). A radon mass balance model was used to quantify the lacustrine groundwater discharge (LGD) of the lake, leading to an LGD estimate of 10.3±8.2mmd−1. Based on the three end member models of stable 18O and Cl, the hydrologic partitioning of the lake is obtained, which shows that groundwater discharge only accounts for 7.0% of the total water input. The groundwater derived DIN and DIP loadings constitute 42.9% and 5.5% of the total nutrient loading to the lakes, indicating the significance of LGD in delivering disproportionate DIN into the lake. The primary productivity of the lake water is calculated to be 0.41mmolCm−2d−1. This study presents the first attempts to evaluate the LGD and hydrologic partitioning in the glacial lake by coupling radioactive and stable isotopic approaches and the findings advance the understanding of nutrient budgets and primary productivity in the proglacial lakes of QTP. The study is also instructional in revealing the hydrogeochemical processes in proglacial lakes elsewhere.

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