Journal of Resources and Ecology ›› 2019, Vol. 10 ›› Issue (2): 213-224.DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764X.2019.02.012

• Ecosystem Monitoring and Service • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Temporal and Spatial Distribution of Evapotranspiration and Its Influencing Factors on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau from 1982 to 2014

CUI Mingyue1,2, WANG Junbang2,3,*(), WANG Shaoqiang2,4, YAN Hao5, LI Yingnian3   

  1. 1. School of the Earth Sciences and Resources, China University of Geosciences (Beijing), Beijing 100083, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    3. Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xining 810001, China
    4. School of Geography and Information Engineering, China University of Geosciences (Beijing), Wuhan 430074, China
    5. National Meteorological Center, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing 100081, China;
  • Received:2018-12-20 Accepted:2019-01-22 Online:2019-03-30 Published:2019-03-30
  • Contact: WANG Junbang
  • Supported by:
    Foundation: National Key Basic Research and Development Program (2017YFC0503803);National Natural Science Foundation of China (31861143015);Qinghai Province S&T Program (2018-ZJ-T09).


Evapotranspiration is the key driving factor of the earth’s water cycle, and an important component of surface water and energy balances. Therefore, it also reflects the geothermal regulation function of ecohydrological process. The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is the birthplace of important rivers such as the Yangtze River and the Yellow River. The regional water balance is of great significance to regional ecological security. In this study, ARTS, a dual- source remote sensing evapotranspiration model developed on a global scale, is used to evaluate the actual evapotranspiration (ET) in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau from 1982 to 2014, using meteorological data interpolated from observations, as well as FPAR and LAI data obtained by satellite remote sensing. The characteristics of seasonal. interannual and dynamic changes of evapotranspiration were analyzed. The rates at which meteorological factors contribute to evapotranspiration are calculated by sensitivity analysis and multiple linear regression analysis, and the dominant factors affecting the change of evapotranspiration in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau are discussed. The results show that: (1) The estimated values can explain more than 80% of the seasonal variation of the observed values (R2 = 0.80, P < 0.001), which indicates that the model has a high accuracy. (2) The evapotranspiration in the whole year, spring, summer and autumn show significant increasing trends in the past 30 years, but have significant regional differences. Whether in the whole year or in summer, the southern Tibetan Valley shows a significant decreasing trend (more than 20 mm per 10 years), while the Ali, Lhasa Valley and Haibei areas show increasing trends (more than 10 mm per 10 years). (3) Sensitivity analysis and multiple linear regression analysis show that the main factor driving the interannual change trend is climate warming, followed by the non-significant increase of precipitation. However, vegetation change also has a considerable impact, and together with climate factors, it can explain 56% of the interannual variation of evapotranspiration (multiple linear regression equation R2 = 0.56, P < 0.001). The mean annual evapotranspiration of low-cover grassland was 26.9% of high-cover grassland and 21.1% of medium-cover grassland, respectively. Considering significant warming and insignificant wetting in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the increase of surface evapotranspiration will threaten the regional ecological security at the cost of glacial melting water. Effectively protecting the ecological security and maintaining the sustainable development of regional society are difficult and huge challenges.

Key words: evapotranspiration, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, climatic factors, spatial and temporal distribution