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Remote Sens. 2015, 7(8), 10973-10995; doi:10.3390/rs70810973

Spatial and Temporal Changes in Vegetation Phenology at Middle and High Latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere over the Past Three Decades

School of Geographical Sciences, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024, China
These authors contributed equally to this work.
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Academic Editors: Santonu Goswami, Ioannis Gitas, Eileen H. Helmer and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 8 April 2015 / Revised: 15 August 2015 / Accepted: 20 August 2015 / Published: 24 August 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Changing Northern High Latitude Ecosystems)
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Abstract

Vegetation phenology is a key biological indicator for monitoring terrestrial ecosystems and global change, and regions with the most obvious phenological changes in vegetation are primarily located at high latitudes and altitudes. Over the past three decades, investigations of obvious phenological changes in vegetation at middle and high latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere have provided significant contributions to understanding global climate change. In this study, phenological parameters were extracted from the Global Inventory Modeling and Mapping Studies (GIMMS) Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI3g) to analyze the spatial and temporal characteristics of vegetation phenological changes above 40°N in the Northern Hemisphere from 1982–2013. The results showed that the start of season (SOS) was significantly advanced (−2.2 ± 0.6 days·decade−1, p < 0.05) and that the end of season (EOS) was slightly delayed (0.78 ± 0.6 days·decade−1, p = 0.21) over the entire study area in the initial 21 years (1982–2002). When the time scale was extended to 2013, the change rate of the SOS and EOS was significantly reduced; in addition, the SOS was delayed (3.2 ± 1.7 days·decade−1, p < 0.05), and the EOS was advanced (4.5 ± 0.9 days·decade−1, p < 0.05) over the entire study area in the last 11 years (2003–2013). The trends of advanced SOS and delayed EOS over the past three decades were slower than those over the initial two decades on a hemispheric scale. The change trends showed obvious variability with different vegetation types and were greater for woody plants than for herbaceous plants. For broad-leaved forest, the SOS was significantly advanced (2 ± 0.5 days·decade−1, p < 0.05) and the EOS was significantly delayed (2.7 ± 0.6 days·decade−1, p < 0.05) from 1982–2013. The trend of delayed EOS was greater than that of advanced SOS for different vegetation types. With respect to the spatial distribution of phenological trends in the Northern Hemisphere, the trends of advanced SOS and delayed EOS were strongest in Europe followed by North America, and the trends were least significant in Asia. Coniferous forest, shrub forest, grassland, and the entire study area have the same change trends for the two time periods (1982–2002 and 2003–2013), and the increased rate of the phenology parameters has decelerated over the most recent decade. The length of season (LOS) of broad-leaved forest and mixed forest over the past 32 years shows a strong increased trend, and simultaneously, the SOS and EOS show an advanced trend and a delayed trend, respectively View Full-Text
Keywords: vegetation phenology, long time series, GIMMS NDVI3g, Northern Hemisphere, mid and high latitude vegetation phenology, long time series, GIMMS NDVI3g, Northern Hemisphere, mid and high latitude
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhao, J.; Zhang, H.; Zhang, Z.; Guo, X.; Li, X.; Chen, C. Spatial and Temporal Changes in Vegetation Phenology at Middle and High Latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere over the Past Three Decades. Remote Sens. 2015, 7, 10973-10995.

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