Seasonal evaporation cycle in oxbow lakes formed along the Tisza River in Hungary for flood control

Beáta Babka, I. Futó, Szilárd Szabó

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2 Citations (Scopus)


As a result of water regulation, dykes (i.e., embankments against floods) were constructed along the Tisza River and meanders were cut to control the floods in the region. These cut-off meanders resulted in oxbow lakes that are important locations for nature conservation. We collected water samples over 5 years in 7 campaigns to measure the δ18O (‰) and δ2H (‰) ratios in 45 oxbow lakes from the Upper Tisza Region (NE-Hungary). We applied Random Forest Regression involving climatic data to reveal the connection with the stable isotopes. We determined that isotope ratios changed as a function of time, due to evaporation and a varying water supply (precipitation and groundwater). The average difference in the isotopic ratios for the river and oxbows increased from spring to winter, but decreased between the oxbows on both sides of the dyke. We found that isotope ratios were determined by the maximum monthly temperature in the case of oxbows in the active floodplain, whereas in case of oxbows on the reclaimed side, this was also influenced by the maximum monthly temperature, and the cumulative evaporation. As direct measurement of evaporation is difficult to evaluate, stable isotope measurements provided an effective quantitative alternative to estimate evaporation. Measuring the seasonality of the δ18O and δ2H is important to interpret the results and these data are useful to water management experts to identify the lakes at risk of running dry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2009-2019
Number of pages11
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Jun 30 2018



  • CarpatClim
  • oxbow lake
  • random forest regression
  • stable isotope ratio
  • Tisza River

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology

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