Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2015, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (8): 967-977.doi: 10.1007/s11442-015-1213-8

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Variations in net primary productivity and its relationships with warming climate in the permafrost zone of the Tibetan Plateau

Dehua MAO1(), Ling LUO1, Zongming WANG1,*(), Chunhua ZHANG2, Chunying REN1   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Wetland Ecology and Environment, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, CAS, Changchun 130102, China
    2. International Institute for Earth System Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
  • Received:2014-08-06 Accepted:2014-12-05 Online:2015-08-15 Published:2015-07-17
  • Contact: Zongming WANG;
  • About author:

    Author: Mao Dehua, PhD, specialized in modeling vegetation NPP and responses of vegetation to climate change.

  • Supported by:
    The Key Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.KZZD-EW-08-02;The CAS/SAFEA International Partnership Program for Creative Research Teams;The Research Fund from NEGAE, CAS, No.Y2H1071001;The National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41371403


Permafrost degradation triggered by a warming climate induces significant changes in soil conditions, and further contributes to apparent impacts on vegetation. However, much less is known regarding the difference in net primary productivity (NPP) and the relationships between NPP and warming temperature among different vegetation types and various types of permafrost zone on the Tibetan Plateau. Consequently, remotely sensed land surface temperature (LST) and NPP from the MODIS platform were used to investigate the response of vegetation NPP to warming climate, and the correlations were scaled up for the study region. Our results indicated a notable increase of NPP from west to east, and significantly increased annual NPP along with the increased LST from 2000 to 2010 in the permafrost zone of the Tibetan Plateau. Meanwhile, the increased NPP for various vegetation types and in different types of permafrost zone with relation to warming temperature was revealed. NPP in the continuous permafrost zone had the greatest sensitivity to the changing LST, and forest NPP presented the most obvious response. Positive correlations between NPP and LST at various scales indicated the enhanced effects of warming LST on vegetation carbon sequestration in the permafrost zone of the Tibetan Plateau. In view of the notable response of NPP to warming temperature on this plateau, remote sensing needs to be further employed to reveal the status of permafrost degradation and its related effects on vegetation.

Key words: permafrost, net primary productivity (NPP), land surface temperature (LST), remote sensing, the Tibetan Plateau