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Atmosphere 2013, 4(4), 411-427; doi:10.3390/atmos4040411

Comparison between Vegetation and Rainfall of Bioclimatic Ecoregions in Central Africa

2,* , 3
1 Laboratory for Environmental Modeling and Atmospheric Physics (LAMEPA), Faculty of Sciences, University of Yaounde I, P.O. Box 812, Yaounde, Cameroon 2 Laboratory of Engineering for Industrial Systems and Environment (LISIE), IUT-FV, University of Dschang, P.O. Box 134, Bandjoun, Cameroon 3 Department of Physics, Faculty of Sciences, University of Douala, P.O. Box 24157, Douala,Cameroon 4 Geographic Information Science Center of Excellence, South Dakota State University, Brookling, SD 57007, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 September 2013 / Revised: 30 September 2013 / Accepted: 19 October 2013 / Published: 13 November 2013
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This paper investigates the relationship between the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and extracted rainfall in the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) in Central Africa between latitudes 15°S and 20°N and longitudes 0°E and 31°E. Monthly NDVI and GPCP datasets for the period 1982–2000 have been used. The Index of Segmentation of Fourier Components (ISFC) has been applied on the NDVI dataset to segment Central Africa into four bioclimatic ecoregions (BCERs). In order to compare the differential response of vegetation growth to rainfall, an analysis of the inter-annual, intra-annual and seasonal variability for each BCER has been carried out, and the correlations between NDVI and rainfall have been assessed. The plot of the annual cycles of both variables revealed a coherent onset, peak and decay, with a time lag of 1 month for almost all the zones, except the zones, semi-desert and steppe, where a season of short and intense rainfall was observed. The correlation coefficients computed between the two variables are relatively high, especially in brush-grass savannah, where they reach up to 0.90 at a time lag of 1 month. The phenological transition points and phases show that the range between the +1 and -1 time lags corresponds to the duration of the maturity of vegetation. Overall, there is a strong similarity between temporal patterns of NDVI and rainfall, showing that the NDVI can be considered a sensitive indicator of the interannual variability of rainfall.
Keywords: AVHRR; GPCP; ISFC; NDVI; rainfall; vegetation AVHRR; GPCP; ISFC; NDVI; rainfall; vegetation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Rousvel, S.; Armand, N.; Andre, L.; Tengeleng, S.; Alain, T.S.; Armel, K. Comparison between Vegetation and Rainfall of Bioclimatic Ecoregions in Central Africa. Atmosphere 2013, 4, 411-427.

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