Scientific References

Peer Reviewed Literature: Continuous and simultaneous measurement of triple-oxygen and hydrogen isotopes of liquid and vapor during evaporation experiments

Authors Matthew P. Brady, David A. Hodell
Godwin Laboratory for Paleoclimate Research, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge
Presented at
Wiley Analytical Science Journals
Date March 3rd, 2021


Rationale: Oxygen and hydrogen isotopes are important tools for studying the modern and past hydrological cycle. Previous evaporation experiments used episodic measurement of liquid and/or vapor or did not measure all isotopologues of water. Here, we describe an evaporation experimental system that allows all isotopologues of liquid and water vapor to be measured simultaneously and near-continuously at high precision using cavity ring-down laser spectroscopy (CRDS).

Methods: Evaporating liquid is periodically sampled from a closed recirculating loop by a syringe pump that delivers a constant supply of water to the vaporizer, achieving a water vapor concentration of 20,000 ppmV H2O (±132, 1σ). Vapor is sampled directly from the evaporation chamber. Isotope ratios are measured simultaneously with a Picarro L2140-i CRDS instrument.

Results: For liquid measurements, Allan variance analysis indicates an optimum data collection window of 34 min for oxygen isotopes and 27 min for hydrogen isotopes. During these periods, the mean standard error is ±0.0081‰ for δ17O values, ±0.0081‰ for δ18O values, and ±0.019‰ for δ2H values. For the derived parameters 17O-excess and d-excess, the standard error of the mean is 5.8 per meg
and 0.07‰, respectively. For the vapor phase a 12.5 min data window for all isotopologues results in a mean standard error of ±0.012‰ for δ17O values, ±0.011‰for δ18O values, and ±0.023‰for δ2H values. For the derived parameters, the standard error of the mean is 9.2 per meg for 17O-excess and 0.099‰ for d-excess. These measurements result in consistently narrow 95% confidence limits for the slopes of ln(δ17O + 1) vs ln(δ18O + 1) and ln(δ2H + 1) vs ln(δ18O + 1).

Conclusions: The experimental method permits measurement of fractionation of triple-oxygen and hydrogen isotopes of evaporating water under varying controlled conditions at high precision. Application of this method will be useful for testing theoretical models of evaporation and conducting experiments to simulate evaporation and isotopic equilibration in natural systems.