There have been hiatuses in global warming since the 1990s, and their potential impacts have attracted extensive attention and discussion. Changes in temperature not only directly affect the greening of vegetation but can also indirectly alter both the growth state and the growth tendency of vegetation by altering other climatic elements. The middle-high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere (NH) constitute the region that has experienced the most warming in recent decades; therefore, identifying the effects of warming hiatuses on the vegetation greening in that region is of great importance. Using satellite-derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data and climatological observation data from 1982–2013, we investigated hiatuses in warming trends and their impact on vegetation greenness in the NH. Our results show that the regions with warming hiatuses in the NH accounted for 50.1% of the total area and were concentrated in Mongolia, central China, and other areas. Among these regions, 18.8% of the vegetation greenness was inhibited in the warming hiatus areas, but 31.3% of the vegetation grew faster. Because temperature was the main positive climatic factor in central China, the warming hiatuses caused the slow vegetation greening rate. However, precipitation was the main positive climatic factor affecting vegetation greenness in Mongolia; an increase in precipitation accelerated vegetation greening. The regions without a warming hiatus, which were mainly distributed in northern Russia, northern central Asia, and other areas, accounted for 49.9% of the total area. Among these regions, 21.4% of the vegetation grew faster over time, but 28.5% of the vegetation was inhibited. Temperature was the main positive factor affecting vegetation greenness in northern Russia; an increase in temperature promoted vegetation greening. However, radiation was the main positive climatic factor in northern central Asia; reductions in radiation inhibited the greenness of vegetation. Our findings suggest that warming hiatuses differentially affect vegetation greening and depend on meteorological factors, especially the main meteorological factors.
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