Long-term variations in actual evapotranspiration over the Tibetan Plateau

Cunbo Han, Yaoming Ma*, Binbin Wang, Lei Zhong, Weiqiang Ma, Xuelong Chen, Zhongbo Su

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
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Actual terrestrial evapotranspiration (ETa) is a key parameter controlling land–atmosphere interaction processes and water cycle. However, spatial distribution and temporal changes in ETa over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) remain very uncertain. Here we estimate the multiyear (2001–2018) monthly ETa and its spatial distribution on the TP by a combination of meteorological data and satellite products. Validation against data from six eddy-covariance monitoring sites yielded root-mean-square errors ranging from 9.3 to 14.5 mm per month and correlation coefficients exceeding 0.9. The domain mean of annual ETa on the TP decreased slightly (−1.45 mm yr−1, p<0.05) from 2001 to 2018. The annual ETa increased significantly at a rate of 2.62 mm yr−1 (p<0.05) in the eastern sector of the TP (long >90∘ E) but decreased significantly at a rate of −5.52 mm yr−1 (p<0.05) in the western sector of the TP (long <90∘ E). In addition, the decreases in annual ETa were pronounced in the spring and summer seasons, while almost no trends were detected in the autumn and winter seasons. The mean annual ETa during 2001–2018 and over the whole TP was 496±23 mm. Thus, the total evapotranspiration from the terrestrial surface of the TP was 1238.3±57.6 km3 yr−1. The estimated ETa product presented in this study is useful for an improved understanding of changes in energy and water cycle on the TP. The dataset is freely available at the Science Data Bank (https://doi.org/10.11922/sciencedb.t00000.00010; Han et al., 2020b) and at the National Tibetan Plateau Data Center (https://doi.org/10.11888/Hydro.tpdc.270995, Han et al., 2020a).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3513-3524
Number of pages12
JournalEarth system science data
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2021




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