Analysis of the impacts of climate variability on evapotranspiration (ET) is of great importance in understanding climate variability and its effect on hydrological aspects. In this study, temporal and spatial variations in reference evapotranspiration (ET0) and actual evapotranspiration (AET) were comprehensively detected in the Taohe River Basin from 1981 to 2010. The spatial distributions of annual sensitivity of ET0 and AET to climatic variables were investigated. The quantitative contributions, the possible causes and dominant controlling factors were analyzed. The results suggested that: (1) Considerable changes in ET0 occurred due to climate variability in the Gannan Plateau area (GPA) and Loess Plateau area (LPA) by 3.54 mm/yr and 3.39 mm/yr from 1981 to 2010, respectively. (2) Net solar radiation was the most sensitive factor on ET0. The dominant factor was air temperature leading to increase in ET0 due to high sensitive coefficient to ET0 and also exhibited significant increasing magnitude. (3) Precipitation (PPT) was the most sensitive factor for AET. AET in the GPA is controlled by air temperature and in LPA is controlled by PPT. This study provides a beneficial reference to agriculture, water resource and eco-environment management strategies in this region for associated policymakers and stakeholders.
- actual evapotranspiration
- climate variability impacts
- reference evapotranspiration
- sensitivity coefficient
- Taohe River Basin
- First received 8 December 2015.
- Accepted in revised form 4 May 2016.
- © IWA Publishing 2016