Effects of evaporative enrichment on the stable isotope hydrology of a central Florida (USA) river

Paul Gremillion, Martin Wanielista

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The δ18O characteristics of water masses contributing to flow in the Econlockhatchee River basin, a subtropical low-gradient watershed in central Florida, were monitored to assess the potential for applying hydrograph separation models in the watershed. Daily sampling for a 2-month period in autumn 1992 revealed ranges in precipitation of -6.64 to -0.17‰, in surficial groundwater of -3.29 to -2.90‰, and in river water of -2.68 to -1.41‰. Results indicated that river δ18O was consistently more enriched than either groundwater or precipitation by about 1‰, prompting the hypothesis that evaporative enrichment significantly altered the δ18O of river water. Additional monitoring and mass-balance modelling of the entire basin (620 km2) and a subcatchment (70 km2) showed that evaporative effects could account for the observed enrichment. Although some enrichment occurred in headwater swamps and wetlands, the field data and modelling results supported the hypothesis that evaporation from the river channel significantly altered the δ18O of river water. Enrichment elsewhere in the hydrological cycle, such as during throughfall or temporary storage in wetlands or stormwater management ponds, may have contributed to the observed signal of evaporation, but could not be distinguished from headwater or river evaporation. It appears that a sufficient isotopic signal exists in central Florida precipitation to apply hydrograph separation models, but that evaporative isotopic enrichment should be included as a modelling element. Copyright (C) 2000 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1465-1484
Number of pages20
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jun 15 2000
EventThe 1997 International Workshop on the Application of Stable Isotopes in Water Balance Studies (ISOBALANCE) - Saskatoon, Sask, Can
Duration: Jul 14 1997Jul 18 1997


  • Evaporative enrichment
  • Hydrograph separation
  • Oxygen stable isotopes
  • Recession analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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