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Open AccessArticle

The Effect of Droughts on Vegetation Condition in Germany: An Analysis Based on Two Decades of Satellite Earth Observation Time Series and Crop Yield Statistics

1
Department of Remote Sensing, Institute of Geography and Geology, University of Wuerzburg, 97074 Wuerzburg, Germany
2
German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD), Earth Observation Center (EOC), German Aerospace Center (DLR), 82234 Wessling, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(15), 1783; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11151783
Received: 19 June 2019 / Revised: 17 July 2019 / Accepted: 25 July 2019 / Published: 30 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Drought Monitoring)
Central Europe experienced several droughts in the recent past, such as in the year 2018, which was characterized by extremely low rainfall rates and high temperatures, resulting in substantial agricultural yield losses. Time series of satellite earth observation data enable the characterization of past drought events over large temporal and spatial scales. Within this study, Moderate Resolution Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) (MOD13Q1) 250 m time series were investigated for the vegetation periods of 2000 to 2018. The spatial and temporal development of vegetation in 2018 was compared to other dry and hot years in Europe, like the drought year 2003. Temporal and spatial inter- and intra-annual patterns of EVI anomalies were analyzed for all of Germany and for its cropland, forest, and grassland areas individually. While vegetation development in spring 2018 was above average, the summer months of 2018 showed negative anomalies in a similar magnitude as in 2003, which was particularly apparent within grassland and cropland areas in Germany. In contrast, the year 2003 showed negative anomalies during the entire growing season. The spatial pattern of vegetation status in 2018 showed high regional variation, with north-eastern Germany mainly affected in June, north-western parts in July, and western Germany in August. The temporal pattern of satellite-derived EVI deviances within the study period 2000–2018 were in good agreement with crop yield statistics for Germany. The study shows that the EVI deviation of the summer months of 2018 were among the most extreme in the study period compared to other years. The spatial pattern and temporal development of vegetation condition between the drought years differ. View Full-Text
Keywords: drought; time series; heat wave; agriculture; climate extremes; climate change; crop statistics; MODIS; Germany drought; time series; heat wave; agriculture; climate extremes; climate change; crop statistics; MODIS; Germany
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Reinermann, S.; Gessner, U.; Asam, S.; Kuenzer, C.; Dech, S. The Effect of Droughts on Vegetation Condition in Germany: An Analysis Based on Two Decades of Satellite Earth Observation Time Series and Crop Yield Statistics. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 1783.

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