Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2003, Vol. 58 ›› Issue (1): 119-125.doi: 10.11821/xb200301014

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Seasonal Changes in Vegetation Activity in Response to Climate Changes in China between 1982 and 1999

PIAO Shilong, FANG Jingyun   

  1. Department of Urban & Environmental Sciences, and Center for Ecological Research & Education, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2002-04-17 Revised:2002-10-09 Online:2003-01-25 Published:2003-01-25
  • Supported by:

    National Key Project for Basic Research, No.G2000046801; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40152003


In the present study, using normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) as an indicator of vegetation activity, seasonal trends of vegetation activity and their dynamic responses to climate changes in China were explored based on remotely sensed data (NOAA-AVHRR) from 1982 to 1999. As a result, spatially averaged seasonal NDVI in China showed a pronounced increase in all four seasons (spring, summer, autumn and winter) during the past 18 years. The average spring NDVI indicated the most significant increase (P<0.001) with a mean rate of 1.3%, while the average autumn NDVI showed the least increase (P=0.075). Analyzing interannual changes in seasonal mean NDVI by vegetation type, it was found that the advance of growing season was a major way for response of vegetation activity to climate changes and that the way exhibited a large regional heterogeneity. In the past 18 years, regions with the largest increase rate of summer NDVI appeared in Northwest China and the Tibetan Plateau, while areas with that of spring NDVI occurred in the eastern part of the country.

Key words: climate change, NDVI, seasonal change, vegetation activity