Evapotranspiration flux partitioning at a multi-species shrubland with stable isotopes of soil, plant, and atmosphere water pools

Tonantzin TARIN, Enrico A. YÉPEZ, Jaime GARATUZA-PAYAN, Julio C. RODRÍGUEZ, Luis A. MÉNDEZ-BARROSO, Christopher J. WATTS, Enrique R. VIVONI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Evapotranspiration is the second largest component of the hydrological cycle after rainfall precipitation in semiarid regions such as northwestern Mexico. In this study, we partitioned the evapotranspiration (ET) flux using stable isotopes of water in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum in combination with eddy covariance flux measurements. We considered three methods for determining the isotopic composition of transpiration (δT): (1) isotopic steady state, (2) non-steady state, and (3) non-steady state weighting the relative importance of dominant species cover and accounting for the relative values of stomatal conductance. Three approaches of T/ET partitioning were estimated during several wet and dry days at the study site in Sonora, Mexico. The total ET flux was variable across years due to differences in precipitation amount between years. ET was lower during the drier-year and reached higher values during the wetter-year. Soil evaporation (E) dominated ET soon after large rain events (40 to 70 mm d–1 [DOY-196 and DOY-197] in 2008) but showed a rapid decrease in dominance as the soil surface dried. Estimated values of T/ET based on an isotopic mass balance were in the same range independent of three methods used. The mean T/ET ratio across all the periods studied was in the range of other studies in semiarid ecosystems and global trends with values of ~0.67 ± 0.02. This work contributes to a better understanding of the surface atmosphere interactions in semi-arid regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-335
Number of pages17
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020


  • Keeling plots
  • North American monsoon
  • ecohydrology
  • subtropical ecosystem
  • water availability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Evapotranspiration flux partitioning at a multi-species shrubland with stable isotopes of soil, plant, and atmosphere water pools'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this