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The nature and extent of bomb tritium remaining in deep vadose zone: A synthesis and prognosis

Huang, Yanan; Evaristo, Jaivime; Li, Zhi; Chun, Kwok; Sutanudjaja, Edwin H.; Cardenas, M. Bayani; Bierkens, Marc F.P.; Kirchner, James W.; van Genuchten, Martinus Th.

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Authors

Yanan Huang

Jaivime Evaristo

Zhi Li

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Dr Kwok Chun Kwok.Chun@uwe.ac.uk
Lecturer in Environmental Managment

Edwin H. Sutanudjaja

M. Bayani Cardenas

Marc F.P. Bierkens

James W. Kirchner

Martinus Th. van Genuchten



Abstract

Tritium present in deep vadose zones is a useful tracer for estimating groundwater recharge, but its full utility is constrained by not knowing where and for how long the tritium tracing method remains applicable. We obtained 44 tritium profiles from 17 globally distributed sites with vadose zone thicknesses of 13−624 m, and used transport models to estimate the number of years that tritium may still be useful. Results show that the method may still be usable for 26 of 44 soil profiles surveyed, mainly in China, Australia, USA, South Africa, and Senegal, with a remaining useful period of between 6 and 83 years. We also developed a statistical model which uses outputs from a hydrological model to predict the applicability of the tritium tracing method. Global implementation of the statistical model showed that the method remains usable at 20% of Earth’s land mass (excluding Antarctica and Greenland) over the next few decades.

Citation

Huang, Y., Evaristo, J., Li, Z., Chun, K., Sutanudjaja, E. H., Cardenas, M. B., …van Genuchten, M. T. (in press). The nature and extent of bomb tritium remaining in deep vadose zone: A synthesis and prognosis. Vadose Zone Journal, https://doi.org/10.1002/vzj2.20304

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 5, 2023
Online Publication Date Jan 19, 2024
Deposit Date Dec 5, 2023
Publicly Available Date Feb 2, 2024
Journal Vadose Zone Journal
Publisher Soil Science Society of America
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
DOI https://doi.org/10.1002/vzj2.20304
Keywords Isotopes; hydrological model; tritium; Vadose zone; groundwater recharge
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/11489682

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