Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us

Health and Environmental Effects Research

WED Research Facility Ranked as One of the World’s Top Laboratories for Water Isotope Measurements

A recent International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) final report on their fourth international interlaboratory comparison exercise for δ2H and δ18O analysis of water samples ranked the NHEERL Western Ecology Division’s (WED’s) Integrated Stable Isotope Research Facility (ISIRF) 14th out of the 137 participating laboratories. This exercise was part of the IAEA Water Resources Programme to promote quality assurance and to improve the reliability and comparability of stable isotope measurements throughout the world. Participation was completely voluntary. These intercomparisons are the only way in which individual laboratories can compare their accuracy and precision with those of the broader community. IAEA also helps poorly performing laboratories improve their accuracy and precision and improve their reporting of actual precision and uncertainty. In February 2011, IAEA distributed four water samples over the range of δ2H and δ18O values typical for the majority of natural waters. Each laboratory measured the samples following their own quality assurance and quality control procedures and reported back their values, estimates of uncertainty, and the number of times they measured the sample. IAEA reported that a majority of laboratories have proven themselves capable of providing high-quality data that can be used confidently for hydrological/hydrogeological studies. However, 52 laboratories returned results that showed considerable deviation from the reference values for at least three sample values. ISIRF was one of the top performing laboratories in this intercomparison with the 14th lowest cumulative deviation from the four reference values. ISIRF prides itself on careful quality assurance and quality control procedures and strict adherence to high standards for excellence in stable isotope analysis.

In February 2011, IAEA distributed four water samples over the range of δ2H and δ18O values typical for the majority of natural waters. Each laboratory measured the samples following their own quality assurance and quality control procedures and reported back their values, estimates of uncertainty, and the number of times they measured the sample. IAEA reported that a majority of laboratories have proven themselves capable of providing high-quality data that can be used confidently for hydrological/hydrogeological studies. However, 52 laboratories returned results that showed considerable deviation from the reference values for at least three sample values.

ISIRF was one of the top performing laboratories in this intercomparison with the 14th lowest cumulative deviation from the four reference values. ISIRF prides itself on careful quality assurance and quality control procedures and strict adherence to high standards for excellence in stable isotope analysis.

Jump to main content.