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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(12), 1277; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9121277

Temporal Changes in Coupled Vegetation Phenology and Productivity are Biome-Specific in the Northern Hemisphere

Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen, Øster Voldgade 10, DK-1350 Copenhagen, Denmark
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Received: 1 November 2017 / Revised: 27 November 2017 / Accepted: 7 December 2017 / Published: 8 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optical Remote Sensing of Boreal Forests)
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Abstract

Global warming has greatly stimulated vegetation growth through both extending the growing season and promoting photosynthesis in the Northern Hemisphere (NH). Analyzing the combined dynamics of such trends can potentially improve our current understanding on changes in vegetation functioning and the complex relationship between anthropogenic and climatic drivers. This study aims to analyze the relationships (long-term trends and correlations) of length of vegetation growing season (LOS) and vegetation productivity assessed by the growing season NDVI integral (GSI) in the NH (>30°N) to study any dependency of major biomes that are characterized by different imprint from anthropogenic influence. Spatial patterns of converging/diverging trends in LOS and GSI and temporal changes in the coupling between LOS and GSI are analyzed for major biomes at hemispheric and continental scales from the third generation Global Inventory Monitoring and Modeling Studies (GIMMS) Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) dataset for a 32-year period (1982–2013). A quarter area of the NH is covered by converging trends (consistent significant trends in LOS and GSI), whereas diverging trends (opposing significant trends in LOS and GSI) cover about 6% of the region. Diverging trends are observed mainly in high latitudes and arid/semi-arid areas of non-forest biomes (shrublands, savannas, and grasslands), whereas forest biomes and croplands are primarily characterized by converging trends. The study shows spatially-distinct and biome-specific patterns between the continental land masses of Eurasia (EA) and North America (NA). Finally, areas of high positive correlation between LOS and GSI showed to increase during the period of analysis, with areas of significant positive trends in correlation being more widespread in NA as compared to EA. The temporal changes in the coupled vegetation phenology and productivity suggest complex relationships and interactions that are induced by both ongoing climate change and increasingly intensive human disturbances. View Full-Text
Keywords: phenology; AVHRR GIMMS3g NDVI; vegetation greenness/productivity; length of growing season; growing season integral; Northern Hemisphere biomes phenology; AVHRR GIMMS3g NDVI; vegetation greenness/productivity; length of growing season; growing season integral; Northern Hemisphere biomes
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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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Wang, L.; Fensholt, R. Temporal Changes in Coupled Vegetation Phenology and Productivity are Biome-Specific in the Northern Hemisphere. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 1277.

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