Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2021, Vol. 76 ›› Issue (3): 584-594.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202103007

• Climate Change and Land Surface Processes • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Impacts of vegetation changes on global evapotranspiration in the period 2003-2017

ZHANG Yongqiang1(), KONG Dongdong2, ZHANG Xuanze1, TIAN Jing1, LI Congcong1,3   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface Processes, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. School of Environmental Studies, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430078, China
    3. College of Natural Resources and Environment, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, Shaanxi, China
  • Received:2020-05-21 Online:2021-03-25 Published:2021-05-25
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41971032)


Evapotranspiration is a key variable and key process in global water cycle, and it is crucial for understanding how anthropogenic and climate changes have impacts on terrestrial water cycle. In the last decade, global vegetation changes are dramatic, reflected by land use and land cover changes and increase in leaf area index. It remains unclear how these changes influence terrestrial evapotranspiration processes. This study uses a coupled evapotranspiration and gross primary product model (PML-V2) that is run at 500 m and 8-day resolutions across the globe to investigate the impacts of vegetation changes on spatial pattern and dynamics of evapotranspiration in the period of 2003-2017. We found that evapotranspiration across the globe has increased noticeably because of vegetation changes, which is characterized by clear regional and non-regional patterns. Transpiration has strongly increased in the central and northern parts of North America, Europe, eastern China, southern Africa, and eastern and northern Australia. Under different land cover types, shrubs and cropland have been influenced strongly, and their impact is stronger in the post-2012 period than that in the pre-2012 period. The recent total increase from these two land cover types amounts to about 0.41 ×103 km3 a-1, which is about 8 times of natural annual runoff from the Yellow River Basin. The results from this study can help improve the understanding of how vegetation changes caused by recent land use and land cover changes influence terrestrial water cycle and the potential local and regional climate change.

Key words: global, terrestrial water cycle, evapotranspiration, vegetation change, land use change