Qinghai Lake basin and the lake have undergone significant changes in recent decades. We examine MODIS-derived grassland vegetation and snow cover of the Qinghai Lake basin and their relations with climate parameters during 2001 to 2010. Results show: (1) temperature and precipitation of the Qinghai Lake basin increased while evaporation decreased; (2) most of the grassland areas improved due to increased temperature and growing season precipitation; (3) weak relations between snow cover and precipitation/vegetation; (4) a significantly negative correlation between lake area and temperature (, ); and (5) a positive relation between lake level (lake-level difference) and temperature (precipitation). Compared with Namco Lake (located in the inner Tibetan Plateau) where the primary water source of lake level increases was the accelerated melt of glacier/perennial snow cover in the lake basin, for the Qinghai Lake, however, it was the increased precipitation. Increased precipitation explained the improvement of vegetation cover in the Qinghai Lake basin, while accelerated melt of glacier/perennial snow cover was responsible for the degradation of vegetation cover in Namco Lake basin. These results suggest different responses to the similar warming climate: improved (degraded) ecological condition and productive capacity of the Qinghai Lake basin (Namco Lake basin).