Spatial Features of the Coupling between Spring NDVI and Temperature over Northern Hemisphere

  • Key Laboratory of Environmental Change and Natural Disaster, Institute of Resources Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China

Received date: 2002-03-20

  Revised date: 2002-06-10

  Online published: 2002-09-25

Supported by

Projects of NKBRSF, G2000018604; NSFC, No.40105007; The Huo Yingdong Education Foundation, No.81014


There is increasing attention focused on the variations in global vegetation condition due to its importance in the global carbon cycle. The vegetation variability arises from many causes. It is well known that climate drives ecosystems on both local and global scales. How and to what extent the vegetation responds to the large-scale climate change is a challenging subject in global change study. In the northern mid- to high-latitudes there experienced dramatic temperature variations, as well as the significant changes in vegetation conditions during the last about two decades. However, both temperature and vegetation variations are not uniform in geographical distribution. In the present study, the authors analyze the spatial features in Pathfinder AVHRR-NDVI/temperature relationship over northern hemisphere in spring for the period from 1982 to 2000. A singular value decomposition analysis is utilized to the covariance matrix of NDVI and temperature. Most of the squared covariance is captured by the first several paired-modes. The first seven modes account for 91.6%. This implies that the temperature is a very important factor influencing vegetation activity. The NDVI changes in response to temperature fluctuations on the interannual time scale show well-defined large-scale and consistent patterns. The first paired-modes, which explains 42.64% of the squared-covariance, indicate the strongest coupling between vegetation and temperature appears in western Siberia. The large-scale atmospheric system, Eurasian pattern (EU), plays a dominant role for that. The relationship between NDVI/temperature and nine large-scale atmospheric circulation systems is analyzed. Results show that much of the NDVI/temperature covariance can be attributed to the fluctuations in these circulation indices. Averaging over the mid- to high-latitude northern hemisphere, 55.6% of the satellite-sensed NDVI variance is explained. The nine climate indices can account for a large portion of the long-term trends in NDVI too, particularly in the northwestern North America, southeastern North America, most of Europe, Siberia, and East Asia. This implies that the regional response of vegetation to climate fluctuations under future climate change scenarios would differ from region to region. Some areas related to the important circulation systems would experience higher sensitivity and predominant changes than other regions.

Cite this article

GONG Daoyi, SHI Peijun, HE Xuezhao . Spatial Features of the Coupling between Spring NDVI and Temperature over Northern Hemisphere[J]. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2002 , 57(5) : 505 -514 . DOI: 10.11821/xb200205001


[1] Fu C B, Wen G. Variation of ecosystems over East Asia in association with seasonal, interannual and decadal monsoon climate variability. Climatic Change, 1999, 43: 477-494.

[2] Kawabata A, Ichii K, Yamaguchi Y. Global monitoring of interannnual changes in vegetation activities using NDVI and its relationships to temperature and precipitation. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 2001, 22(7): 1377-1382.

[3] IPCC. Climate change 2001: the scientific basis. In: Houghton J T, Ding Y H, Griggs D J (eds.), Contribution of Working Group I to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001. 881.

[4] Myneni R B, Tucker C J, Asar G et al. Interannual variations in satellite-sensed vegetation index data from 1981 to 1991. J. Geophysical Research, 1998, 103(D6): 6145-6160.

[5] Myneni R B, Keeling C D, Tucker C J et al. Increased plant growth in the northern high latitudes from 1981-1991. Nature, 1997, 386: 698-702.

[6] Zhou L M, Tucker C J, Kaufmann R K et al. Variations in northern vegetation activity inferred from satellite data of vegetation index during 1981 to 1999. Journal of Geophysical Research, 2001, 106(D17): 20069-20083.

[7] Myneni R B, Dong J, Tucker C J et al. A large carbon sink in the woody biomass of northern forests. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 2001, 98: 14784-14789.

[8] Los S O, Collatze G J, Bounoua L et al. Global interannual variations in sea surface temperature and land surface vegetation, air temperature, and precipitation. Journal of Climate, 2001, 14(7): 1535-1549.

[9] Gutman G, Csiszar I, Romanoc P. Using NOAA/AVHRR products to monitor El Nino impact: focus on Indonesia in 1997-98. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 2000, 81: 1189-1204.

[10] Kogan F N. Satellite-observed sensitivity of world land ecosystems to El Nino/La Nina. Remote Sensing of Environment, 2000, 74(3): 445-462.

[11] Mennis J. Exploring relationships between ENSO and vegetation vigour in the southeast USA using AVHRR data. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 2001, 22(16): 3077-3092.

[12] Li Z T, Kafatos M. Interannual variability of vegetation in the United States and its relation to El Nino/Southern Oscillation. Remote Sensing of Environment, 2000, 71: 239-247.

[13] Kogan F N. Operational space technology for global vegetation assessment. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 2001, 82(9): 1949-1964.

[14] Thompson D W J, Wallace J M, Gabriele C. Annular modes in the extratropical circulation (Part II): Trends. J. Climate, 2000, 13(5):1018-1036.

[15] Hurrel J W. Influence of variations in extratropical wintertime teleconnections on Northern Hemisphere. Geophy. Res. Lett., 1996, 23(6): 665-668.

[16] Suzuki R,Tanka S, Yasunari T. Relationships between meridional profiles of satellite-derived vegetation index (NDVI) and climate over Siberia. International Journal of Climatology, 2000, 20: 955-967.

[17] James M E, Kalluri S N V. The Pathfinder AVHRR land data set: an improved coarse-resolution data set for terrestrial monitoring. Int. J. Remote Sens., 1994, 15: 3347-3364.

[18] Jones P D. Hemispheric surface air temperature variations: a reanalysis and an update to 1993. J. Climate, 1994, 7: 1794-1802.

[19] Wallace J M, Smith C, Bretherton C S. Singular value decomposition of wintertime sea surface temperature and 500-mb height anomalies. Journal of Climate, 1992, 5(6): 561-576.

[20] Thompson D W J, Wallace J M. The Arctic oscillation signature in the wintertime geopotential height and temperature fields. Geophysical Res. Lett. 1998, 25: 1297-1300.

[21] Hurrell J W. Decadal trends in the North Atlantic oscillation: regional temperatures and precipitation. Science, 1995, 269: 676-679.

[22] Trenberth K E, Hurrell J W. Decadal atmosphere-ocean variations in the Pacific. Climate Dynamics, 1994, 9: 303-319.

[23] Wallace J M, Gutzler D S. Teleconnections in the geopotential height field during the Northern Hemisphere winter. Mon. Wea. Rev., 1981, 109: 784-812.