Understanding the spatial-temporal dynamics of evapotranspiration in relation to climate change and human activities is crucial for the sustainability of water resources and ecosystem security, especially in regions strongly influenced by human impact. In this study, a process-based evapotranspiration (ET) model in conjunction with the Global Land Surface Satellite (GLASS) LAI dataset was used to characterize the spatial-temporal pattern of evapotranspiration from 1982 to 2016 over the Gan River basin (GRB), the largest sub-basin of the Poyang Lake catchment, China. The results showed that the actual annual ET (ETa) weakly increased with an annual trend of 0.88 mm year−2
from 1982 to 2016 over the GRB, along with a slight decline in annual potential ET (ETp). On an ecosystem scale; however, only the evergreen broadleaved forest and cropland presented a positive ETa trend, while the rest of the ecosystems demonstrated negative trends of ETa. Both correlation analysis and sensitivity analysis revealed a close relationship between ETa inter-annual variability and energy availability. Attribution analysis illustrated that contributions of climate change and vegetation greening on the ETa trend were −0.48 mm year−2
and 1.36 mm year−2
, respectively. Climate change had a negative impact on the ETa trend over the GRB. However, the negative effects have been offset by the positive effects of vegetation greening, which mainly resulted from the large-scale revegetation in forestland and agricultural practices in cropland. It is concluded that large-scale afforestation and agricultural management were the main drivers of the long-term evolution of water consumption over the GRB. This study can improve our understanding of the interactive effects of climate change and human activities on the long-term evolution of water cycles.
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