The Mongolian and Tibetan Plateaus have experienced warming higher than the global average in recent decades, resulting in many significant changes to ecosystem structures and functions. Among items that show change are the leaf area index (LAI) and evapotranspiration (ET), both of which play a fundamental role in shaping many causes and consequences of land surface processes and climate. This study examines the spatiotemporal changes of the LAI and ET and their relationships on these two roofing landscapes. Based on the MODIS products from 2000 through 2014, we found that there existed a general positive relationship between LAI and ET on the Mongolia Plateau (MP), while synergy did not exist on the Tibetan Plateau (TP). Overall, 49.38% (50.62%) of land areas on the TP experienced significant increases (decreases) in LAI, while on the MP the percentages of increase and decrease were 94.92% (5.09%). For ET, the increased land area was 21.70% (124100 km2) on the TP and 88.01% (341600 km2) on the MP. More importantly, the relationships varied substantially across space and over time, with mismatches found in some parts of the landscapes. Additional observational investigations and/or experimental research are needed to explore the relationships, including the influences of vegetation characteristics and disturbances.
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Vol. 10 • No. 3