Please wait a minute...
Journal of Arid Land  2019, Vol. 11 Issue (6): 939-953    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-019-0107-5
Orginal Article     
Attribution analysis based on Budyko hypothesis for land evapotranspiration change in the Loess Plateau, China
HE Guohua1,2, ZHAO Yong1,2,*(), WANG Jianhua1,2, GAO Xuerui3, HE Fan1,2, LI Haihong1,2, ZHAI Jiaqi1,2, WANG Qingming1,2, ZHU Yongnan1,2
1State Key Laboratory of Simulation and Regulation of Water Cycle in River Basin, Beijing 100038, China
2 China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Beijing 100038, China
3Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China
Download: HTML     PDF(2611KB)
Export: BibTeX | EndNote (RIS)      


Land evapotranspiration (ET) is an important process connecting soil, vegetation and the atmosphere, especially in regions that experience shortage in precipitation. Since 1999, the implementation of a large-scale vegetation restoration project has significantly improved the ecological environment of the Loess Plateau in China. However, the quantitative assessment of the contribution of vegetation restoration projects to long-term ET is still in its infancy. In this study, we investigated changes in land ET and associated driving factors from 1982to 2014 in the Loess Plateau using Budyko-based partial differential methods. Overall, annual ET slightly increased by 0.28 mm/a and there were no large fluctuations after project implementation. An attribution analysis showed that precipitation was the driving factor of inter-annual variability of land ET throughout the study period; the average impacts of precipitation, potential evapotranspiration, and vegetation restoration on ET change were 61.5%, 11.5% and 26.9%, respectively. These results provide an improved understanding of the relationship between vegetation condition change and climate variation on terrestrial ET in the study area and can support future decision-making regarding water resource availability.

Key wordsclimate change      vegetation      evapotranspiration      control factor      arid region     
Received: 03 September 2018      Published: 10 December 2019
Corresponding Authors: Yong ZHAO     E-mail:
Cite this article:

HE Guohua, ZHAO Yong, WANG Jianhua, GAO Xuerui, HE Fan, LI Haihong, ZHAI Jiaqi, WANG Qingming, ZHU Yongnan. Attribution analysis based on Budyko hypothesis for land evapotranspiration change in the Loess Plateau, China. Journal of Arid Land, 2019, 11(6): 939-953.

URL:     OR

1 Budyko M I. 1961. The heat balance of the Earth's surface. Soviet Geography, 2(4): 3-13.
2 Budyko M I. 1969. The effect of solar radiation variations on the climate of the Earth. Tellus, 21: 611-619.
3 Chirouze J, Boulet G, Jarlan L, et al. 2013. Intercomparison of four remote-sensing-based surface energy balance methods to retrieve surface evapotranspiration and water stress of irrigated fields in semi-arid climate. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 18: 1165-1188.
4 Droogers P. 2000. Estimating actual evapotranspiration using a detailed agro-hydrological model. Journal of Hydrology, 229(1-2): 50-58.
5 Fang X, Ren L, Li Q, et al. 2012. Estimating and validating basin-scale actual evapotranspiration using MODIS images and hydrologic models. Hydrology Research, 43(1-2): 156-166.
6 Fang X, Zhao W, Wang L, et al. 2016. Variations of deep soil moisture under different vegetation types and influencing factors in a watershed of the Loess Plateau, China. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 20: 3309-3323.
7 Feng H, Zou B, Luo J. 2017. Coverage-dependent amplifiers of vegetation change on global water cycle dynamics. Journal of Hydrology, 550: 220-229.
8 Feng X M, Sun G, Fu B J, et al. 2012. Regional effects of vegetation restoration on water yield across the Loess Plateau, China. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 16(8): 2617-2628.
9 Feng X, Fu B, Lu N, et al. 2013. How ecological restoration alters ecosystem services: an analysis of carbon sequestration in China’s Loess Plateau. Scientific Reports, 3: 2846.
10 Feng X, Fu B, Piao S, et al. 2016. Revegetation in China’s Loess Plateau is approaching sustainable water resource limits. Nature Climate Change, 6: 1019-1022.
11 Fu B, Yu L, Lü Y, et al. 2011. Assessing the soil erosion control service of ecosystems change in the Loess Plateau of China. Ecological Complexity, 8(4): 284-293.
12 Gao X, Sun M, Zhao Q, et al. 2016. Actual ET modelling based on the Budyko framework and the sustainability of vegetation water use in the loess plateau. Science of the Total Environment, 579: 1550-1559.
13 Gao Z L, Yong-Hong LI, Jua XU, et al. 2009. Research on eco-construction and control measures of soil and water loss in the loess plateau. Science Technology & Industry, 9(10): 1-12. (in Chinese)
14 Jin Z, Liang W, Yang Y, et al. 2017. Separating vegetation greening and climate change controls on evapotranspiration trend over the loess plateau. Scientific Reports, 7: 8191.
15 Jung M, Reichstein M, Ciais P, et al. 2010. Recent decline in the global land evapotranspiration trend due to limited moisture supply. Nature, 467: 951-954.
16 Li S, Liang W, Fu B, et al. 2016. Vegetation changes in recent large-scale ecological restoration projects and subsequent impact on water resources in China's Loess Plateau. Science of the Total Environment, 569-570: 1032-1039.
17 Li Z, Zheng F L, Liu W Z. 2012. Spatiotemporal characteristics of reference evapotranspiration during 1961-2009 and its projected changes during 2011-2099 on the Loess Plateau of China. Agricultural & Forest Meteorology, 154-155: 147-155.
18 Li Z, Zheng F L, Liu W Z, et al. 2012. Spatially downscaling GCMs outputs to project changes in extreme precipitation and temperature events on the Loess Plateau of China during the 21st Century. Global and Planetary Change, 83: 65-73.
19 Liang W, Bai D, Wang F, et al. 2015. Quantifying the impacts of climate change and ecological restoration on streamflow changes based on a Budyko hydrological model in China's Loess Plateau. Water Resources Research, 51(8): 6500-6519.
20 Liu Q, Yang Z. 2010. Quantitative estimation of the impact of climate change on actual evapotranspiration in the Yellow River Basin, China. Journal of Hydrology, 395(3-4): 226-234.
21 Lü Y, Fu B, Feng X, et al. 2012. A policy-driven large scale ecological restoration: Quantifying ecosystem services changes in the loess plateau of China. PLoS ONE, 7(2): e31782.
22 Meng C L, Li Z L, Zhan X, et al. 2009. Land surface temperature data assimilation and its impact on evapotranspiration estimates from the Common Land Model. Water Resources Research, 45(2): 335-345.
23 Miao C Y, Sun Q H, Duan Q Y, et al. 2016. Joint analysis of changes in temperature and precipitation on the Loess Plateau during the period 1961-2011. Climate Dynamics, 47(9-10): 3221-3234.
24 Nash L L, Gleick P H. 1991. Sensitivity of streamflow in the Colorado Basin to climatic changes. Journal of Hydrology, 125(3-4): 221-241.
25 Ning T T, Li Z, Liu W Z, et al. 2017. Vegetation dynamics and climate seasonality jointly control theinterannual catchment water balance in the Loess Plateau underthe Budyko framework. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 21: 1515-1526.
26 Oki T, Kanae S. 2006. Global hydrological cycles and world water resources. Science, 313(5790): 1068-1072.
27 Roderick M L, Farquhar G D. 2011. A simple framework for relating variations in runoff to variations in climatic conditions and catchment properties. Water Resources Research, 47(12): 667-671.
28 Sun Q H, Miao C Y, Duan Q Y, et al. 2015. Temperature and precipitation changes over the Loess Plateau between 1961 and 2011, based on high-density gauge observations. Global and Planetary Change, 132: 1-10.
29 Wang T M, Kou X J, Xiong Y C, et al. 2010. Temporal and spatial patterns of NDVI and their relationship to precipitation in the Loess Plateau of China. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 31(7): 1943-1958.
30 Wu C, Hu B X, Huang G, et al. 2017. Effects of climate and terrestrial storage on temporal variability of actual evapotranspiration. Journal of Hydrology, 549: 388-403.
31 Wu J, Miao C, Wang Y, et al. 2016. Contribution analysis of the long-term changes in seasonal runoff on the Loess Plateau, China, using eight Budyko-based methods. Journal of Hydrology, 545: 263-275.
32 Xin Z, Yu X, Li Q, et al. 2011. Spatiotemporal variation in rainfall erosivity on the Chinese Loess Plateau during the period 1956-2008. Regional Environmental Change, 11(1): 149-159.
33 Xu X, Yang D, Sivapalan M. 2012. Assessing the impact of climate variability on catchment water balance and vegetation cover. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 16: 43-58.
34 Xu X, Yang D, Yang H, et al. 2014. Attribution analysis based on the Budyko hypothesis for detecting the dominant cause of runoff decline in Haihe basin. Journal of Hydrology, 510: 530-540.
35 Yang D, Sun F, Liu Z, et al. 2006. Interpreting the complementary relationship in non‐humid environments based on the Budyko and Penman hypotheses. Geophysical Research Letters, 33(18), 122-140.
36 Yang D, Sun F, Liu Z, et al. 2007. Analyzing spatial and temporal variability of annual water‐energy balance in nonhumid regions of China using the Budyko hypothesis. Water Resources Research, 43(4): 436-451.
37 Yang D, Shao W W, Yeh P J F, et al. 2009. Impact of vegetation coverage on regional water balance in the nonhumid regions of China. Water Resources Research, 45(7): 450-455.
38 Yang D, Zhang S L, Xu X Y. 2015. Attribution analysis for runoff decline in Yellow River Basin during past fifty years based on Budyko hypothesis. Scientia Sinica, 45: 1024-1034. (in Chinese)
39 Yang H, Yang D, Lei Z, et al. 2008. New analytical derivation of the mean annual water‐energy balance equation. Water Resources Research, 44(3): 893-897.
40 Zhang B, Wu P, Zhao X, et al. 2014. Assessing the spatial and temporal variation of the rainwater harvesting potential (1971-2010) on the Chinese Loess Plateau using the VIC model. Hydrological Processes, 28(3): 534-544.
41 Zhang L, Dawes W R, Walker G R. 2001. Response of mean annual evapotranspiration to vegetation changes at catchment scale. Water Resources Research, 37(3): 701-708.
42 Zhang T, Peng J, Liang W, et al. 2016. Spatial-temporal patterns of water use efficiency and climate controls in China's Loess Plateau during 2000-2010. Science of the Total Environment, 565: 105-122.
43 Zhang X, Zhao W, Liu Y, et al. 2016. The relationships between grasslands and soil moisture on the Loess Plateau of China: A review. Catena, 145: 56-57.
44 Zhang Y, Pe?a-Arancibia J L, McVicar T R, et al. 2016. Multi-decadal trends in global terrestrial evapotranspiration and its components. Scientific Reports, 6: 19124.
45 Zhang Y W, Deng L, Yan W M, et al. 2016. Interaction of soil water storage dynamics and long-term natural vegetation succession on the Loess Plateau, China. Catena, 137: 52-60.
46 Zhao G, Mu X, Wen Z, et al. 2013. Soil erosion, conservation, and eco-environment changes in the Loess Plateau of China. Land Degradation & Development, 24(5): 499-510.
47 Zhao W, Fang X, Stefani D, et al. 2018. Factors influencing soil moisture in the Loess Plateau, China: a review. Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 501-509.
[1] BAI Jie, LI Junli, BAO Anmin, CHANG Cun. Spatial-temporal variations of ecological vulnerability in the Tarim River Basin, Northwest China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(8): 814-834.
[2] Brian COLLINS, Hadi RAMEZANI ETEDALI, Ameneh TAVAKOL, Abbas KAVIANI. Spatiotemporal variations of evapotranspiration and reference crop water requirement over 1957-2016 in Iran based on CRU TS gridded dataset[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(8): 858-878.
[3] Batjargal BUYANTOGTOKH, Yasunori KUROSAKI, Atsushi TSUNEKAWA, Mitsuru TSUBO, Batdelger GANTSETSEG, Amarsaikhan DAVAADORJ, Masahide ISHIZUKA, Tsuyoshi T SEKIYAMA, Taichu Y TANAKA, Takashi MAKI. Effect of stones on the sand saltation threshold during natural sand and dust storms in a stony desert in Tsogt-Ovoo in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(7): 653-673.
[4] WU Jun, DENG Guoning, ZHOU Dongmei, ZHU Xiaoyan, MA Jing, CEN Guozhang, JIN Yinli, ZHANG Jun. Effects of climate change and land-use changes on spatiotemporal distributions of blue water and green water in Ningxia, Northwest China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(7): 674-687.
[5] HUANG Laiming, ZHAO Wen, SHAO Ming'an. Response of plant physiological parameters to soil water availability during prolonged drought is affected by soil texture[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(7): 688-698.
[6] WANG Yuejian, GU Xinchen, YANG Guang, YAO Junqiang, LIAO Na. Impacts of climate change and human activities on water resources in the Ebinur Lake Basin, Northwest China[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(6): 581-598.
[7] Nirmal M DAHAL, XIONG Donghong, Nilhari NEUPANE, Belayneh YIGEZ, ZHANG Baojun, YUAN Yong, Saroj KOIRALA, LIU Lin, FANG Yiping. Spatiotemporal analysis of drought variability based on the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index in the Koshi River Basin, Nepal[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(5): 433-454.
[8] JIA Wuhui, YIN Lihe, ZHANG Maosheng, ZHANG Xinxin, ZHANG Jun, TANG Xiaoping, DONG Jiaqiu. Quantification of groundwater recharge and evapotranspiration along a semi-arid wetland transect using diurnal water table fluctuations[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(5): 455-469.
[9] LANG Man, LI Ping, WEI Wei. Gross nitrogen transformations and N2O emission sources in sandy loam and silt loam soils[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(5): 487-499.
[10] JIAO Linlin, WANG Xunming, CAI Diwen, HUA Ting. Potential responses of vegetation to atmospheric aerosols in arid and semi-arid regions of Asia[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(5): 516-533.
[11] ZHOU Siyuan, DUAN Yufeng, ZHANG Yuxiu, GUO Jinjin. Vegetation dynamics of coal mining city in an arid desert region of Northwest China from 2000 to 2019[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(5): 534-547.
[12] SA Chula, MENG Fanhao, LUO Min, LI Chenhao, WANG Mulan, ADIYA Saruulzaya, BAO Yuhai. Spatiotemporal variation in snow cover and its effects on grassland phenology on the Mongolian Plateau[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(4): 332-349.
[13] Ayad M F AL-QURAISHI, Heman A GAZNAYEE, Mattia CRESPI. Drought trend analysis in a semi-arid area of Iraq based on Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, Normalized Difference Water Index and Standardized Precipitation Index[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(4): 413-430.
[14] Mohsen SHARAFATMANDRAD, Azam KHOSRAVI MASHIZI. Plant community dynamics in arid lands: the role of desert ants[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(3): 303-316.
[15] Durdiev KHAYDAR, CHEN Xi, HUANG Yue, Makhmudov ILKHOM, LIU Tie, Ochege FRIDAY, Abdullaev FARKHOD, Gafforov KHUSEN, Omarakunova GULKAIYR. Investigation of crop evapotranspiration and irrigation water requirement in the lower Amu Darya River Basin, Central Asia[J]. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(1): 23-39.