Coupled impact of decadal precipitation and evapotranspiration on peatland degradation in the Zoige basin, China

Zhiwei Li, Peng Gao, Xuyue Hu, Yujun Yi, Baozhu Pan, Yuchi You

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This study quantified the temporal properties of precipitation and actual evapotranspiration (ETa) in the Zoige basin of the Yellow River source region, China during the 1967–2011 period, as well as their influence to the area reduction of peatland. We extracted areas of different land-use and land-cover (LULC) types and obtained daily precipitation data. Then, we calculated annual precipitation (AP) and specific cumulative precipitation (SCP), which is the sum of precipitation to the date when an image was taken, and showed that the peatland areas were strongly affected by SCP. Using a modified Penman–Monteith equation, we calculated ETa for each LULC type and the area-weighted ones to show that the area-weighted total ETa was mainly contributed from grassland and peatland, which was between 450 and 550 mm. Temporal trends of the ratio of SCP to evapotranspiration showed that precipitation was generally greater than evapotranspiration rate not only during the summer but also over the 1967–2011 period. This trend failed to completely explain the continuous decrease of peatland area in the Zoige basin in decades. The draining effect of artificial ditches and natural gullies might play an additional role in causing peatland degradation but requires further process-based studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-168
Number of pages24
JournalPhysical Geography
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 3 2020


  • Peatland degradation
  • Zoige basin
  • evapotranspiration
  • specific cumulative precipitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Coupled impact of decadal precipitation and evapotranspiration on peatland degradation in the Zoige basin, China'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this