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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(7), 664;

Phenology Plays an Important Role in the Regulation of Terrestrial Ecosystem Water-Use Efficiency in the Northern Hemisphere

International Institute for Earth System Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
Nanjing Institute of Geography & Limnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, China
Dynamic Macroecology, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Zürcherstrasse 111, 8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
CNR Institute for Agricultural and Forest Systems, Via Patacca 85, 80056 Ercolano, Italy
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Clement Atzberger
Received: 2 June 2017 / Revised: 25 June 2017 / Accepted: 25 June 2017 / Published: 28 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Agriculture and Vegetation)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2325 KB, uploaded 28 June 2017]   |  


Ecosystem-scale water-use efficiency (WUE), defined as the ratio of gross primary productivity (GPP) to evapotranspiration (ET), is an important indicator of coupled carbon-water cycles. Relationships between WUE and environmental factors have been widely investigated, but the variations in WUE in response to biotic factors remain little understood. Here, we argue that phenology plays an important role in the regulation of WUE by analyzing seasonal WUE responses to variability of photosynthetic phenological factors in terrestrial ecosystems of the Northern Hemisphere using MODIS satellite observations during 2000–2014. Our results show that WUE, during spring and autumn is widely and significantly correlated to the start (SOS) and end (EOS) of growing season, respectively, after controlling for environmental factors (including temperature, precipitation, radiation and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration). The main patterns of WUE response to phenology suggest that an increase in spring (or autumn) WUE with an earlier SOS (or later EOS) are mainly because the increase in GPP is relatively large in magnitude compared to that of ET, or due to an increase in GPP accompanied by a decrease in ET, resulting from an advanced SOS (or a delayed EOS). Our results and conclusions are helpful to complement our knowledge of the biological regulatory mechanisms underlying coupled carbon-water cycles. View Full-Text
Keywords: water-use efficiency; phenology; gross primary product; evapotranspiration; remote sensing water-use efficiency; phenology; gross primary product; evapotranspiration; remote sensing

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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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Jin, J.; Wang, Y.; Zhang, Z.; Magliulo, V.; Jiang, H.; Cheng, M. Phenology Plays an Important Role in the Regulation of Terrestrial Ecosystem Water-Use Efficiency in the Northern Hemisphere. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 664.

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