Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2012, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (6): 977-988.doi: 10.1007/s11442-012-0977-3

• Climate Change • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Decreasing potential evapotranspiration in the Huanghe River Watershed in climate warming during 1960-2010

MA Xuening, ZHANG Mingjun, LI Yaju, WANG Shengjie, MA Qian, LIU Wenli   

  1. College of Geography and Environment Sciences, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China
  • Received:2012-05-04 Revised:2012-05-29 Online:2012-12-15 Published:2012-12-15


According to the meteorological observation data of 72 stations from 1960 to 2010 in the Huanghe (Yellow) River Watershed, China, the long-term variations of potential evapotranspiration, calculated in the modified Penman-Monteith model of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, were presented, as well as the meteorological causes for the decrease of potential evapotranspiration were discussed. Since 1960, temperature has risen significantly and potential evapotranspiration a decreasing trend, which indicated the existence of “Evaporation paradox” in the Huanghe River Watershed. This phenomenon was not consistent spatially or temporally with the increase of temperature, potential evapotranspiration decreased in spring, summer and winter, mainly over most parts of Shanxi and Henan, and some parts of Gansu, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, and Shaanxi. During the recent half century, the trends of temperature and potential evapotranspiration were negatively correlated at most of the stations, while precipitation and potential evapotranspiration exhibited a contrary trend. Calculated in multiple regressions, the contribution to potential evapotranspiration change of related meteorological factors was discussed, including mean pressure, maximum and minimum temperature, sunshine hours, relative humidity and average wind speed. The decrease of wind speed in the Huanghe River Watershed may be the dominating factor causing potential evapotranspiration decreasing.

Key words: Huanghe River Watershed, air temperature, precipitation, potential evapotranspiration