Partitioning evapotranspiration using high-frequency stable isotope observation techniques: progress and challenges

Dr. Maren Dubbert

Date: Thursday, September 15, 2022
Time: 4.15 pm
Place: F 02 (Büsgenweg 2) and streamed via zoom. If you want to attend remotely, please register by sending an email to

In light of ongoing global climate change and related increases in extreme hydrological events, it is becoming increasingly important to have a comprehensive knowledge of the ecosystem water cycle to assess ecosystem stability. Evapotranspiration (ET) plays a crucial role returning up to 90 % of ingoing precipitation back to the atmosphere. Partitioning of ET into its main components is crucial to understand temporal developments in net fluxes but to data remains one of the key challenges in ecosystem water research.
Water stable isotopes are a powerful tracer of water transfer through the soil-vegetation-atmosphere continuum (SPAC, Dubbert & Werner 2019). Following the development of laser-based spectrometry, the last decade has seen an important technological thrust of isotope monitoring methods at various scales within the SPAC (Dubbert et al., 2013; Dubbert et al., 2014; Braden-Behrens et al., 2019, 2020; Rothfuss et al., 2013; Volkmann and Weiler, 2014; Marshall et al., 2020), allowing to investigate the dynamic interactions at the soil-plant and plant-atmosphere interface in unprecedented temporal (<1 hr) and spatial resolution (<1 m2). In this short lecture we will discuss the background of combined flux and stable isotope evapotranspiration partitioning approaches, summarize significant milestones of the last decade, as well as progress and current challenges of using novel in-situ stable water isotopes techniques to disentangle ecohydrological fluxes.