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Open AccessArticle

Hydrological Control of Vegetation Greenness Dynamics in Africa: A Multivariate Analysis Using Satellite Observed Soil Moisture, Terrestrial Water Storage and Precipitation

1
School of Life and Environmental Sciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney NSW 2006, Australia
2
Sydney Institute of Agriculture & School of Life and Environmental Sciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney NSW 2006, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 December 2019 / Revised: 2 January 2020 / Accepted: 7 January 2020 / Published: 10 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Vegetation and Land Surface Dynamics in a Changing Climate)
Vegetation activity in many parts of Africa is constrained by dynamics in the hydrologic cycle. Using satellite products, the relative importance of soil moisture, rainfall, and terrestrial water storage (TWS) on vegetation greenness seasonality and anomaly over Africa were assessed for the period between 2003 and 2015. The possible delayed response of vegetation to water availability was considered by including 0–6 and 12 months of the hydrological variables lagged in time prior to the vegetation greenness observations. Except in the drylands, the relationship between vegetation greenness seasonality and the hydrological measures was generally strong across Africa. Contrarily, anomalies in vegetation greenness were generally less coupled to anomalies in water availability, except in some parts of eastern and southern Africa where a moderate relationship was evident. Soil moisture was the most important variable driving vegetation greenness in more than 50% of the areas studied, followed by rainfall when seasonality was considered, and by TWS when the monthly anomalies were used. Soil moisture and TWS were generally concurrent or lagged vegetation by 1 month, whereas precipitation lagged vegetation by 1–2 months. Overall, the results underscore the pre-eminence of soil moisture as an indicator of vegetation greenness among satellite measured hydrological variables. View Full-Text
Keywords: vegetation activity; vegetation anomaly; random forest vegetation activity; vegetation anomaly; random forest
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Ugbaje, S.U.; Bishop, T.F. Hydrological Control of Vegetation Greenness Dynamics in Africa: A Multivariate Analysis Using Satellite Observed Soil Moisture, Terrestrial Water Storage and Precipitation. Land 2020, 9, 15.

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