The usefulness of triple isotope studies of natural systems is contingent on the existence of resolvable differences in mass-dependent fractionation exponents θ [where θ = ln(17/16α)/ln(18/16α)] among processes that are prevalent in the system(s) of interest, or on the existence of resolvable non-mass-dependent fractionation in the system. Both such contingencies are satisfied in continental hydroclimate systems. The process of evaporation of water involves molecular diffusion of water vapor through air, which carries a θ value of 0.5185 (Barkan and Luz 2007) that differs strongly from the value of 0.529 for...

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