Footprint of recycled water subsidies downwind of Lake Michigan

Bowen, Gabriel J.; Kennedy, Casey D.; Henne, Paul Daniel; Zhang, Tonglin (2012). Footprint of recycled water subsidies downwind of Lake Michigan. Ecosphere, 3(6), art53. Ithaca, NY: Ecological Society of America 10.1890/es12-00062.1

es12-00062%2E1.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY).

Download (3MB) | Preview

Continental evaporation is a significant and dynamic flux within the atmospheric water budget, but few methods provide robust observational constraints on the large-scale hydroclimatological and hydroecological impacts of this ‘recycled-water' flux. We demonstrate a geospatial analysis that provides such information, using stable isotope data to map the distribution of recycled water in shallow aquifers downwind from Lake Michigan. The δ2H and δ18O values of groundwater in the study region decrease from south to north, as expected based on meridional gradients in climate and precipitation isotope ratios. In contrast, deuterium excess (d = δ2H − 8 × δ18O) values exhibit a significant zonal gradient and finer-scale spatially patterned variation. Local d maxima occur in the northwest and southwest corners of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, where ‘lake-effect' precipitation events are abundant. We apply a published model that describes the effect of recycling from lakes on atmospheric vapor d values to estimate that up to 32% of recharge into individual aquifers may be derived from recycled Lake Michigan water. Applying the model to geostatistical surfaces representing mean d values, we estimate that between 10% and 18% of the vapor evaporated from Lake Michigan is re-precipitated within downwind areas of the Lake Michigan drainage basin. Our approach provides previously unavailable observational constraints on regional land-atmosphere water fluxes in the Great Lakes Basin and elucidates patterns in recycled-water fluxes that may influence the biogeography of the region. As new instruments and networks facilitate enhanced spatial monitoring of environmental water isotopes, similar analyses can be widely applied to calibrate and validate water cycle models and improve projections of regional hydroecological change involving the coupled lake-atmosphere-land system.

Read More:

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Palaeoecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Henne, Paul Daniel


500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology




Ecological Society of America




Paul Daniel Henne

Date Deposited:

20 Dec 2013 14:11

Last Modified:

07 Dec 2014 09:56

Publisher DOI:


Web of Science ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

deuterium excess, evaporation, geostatistics, GIS, gradients, Great Lakes, groundwater, hydroecology, hydrogen, Lake Michigan, oxygen, stable isotopes, water vapor




Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback