GAC NDVI images: relationship to rainfall and potential evaporation in the grazing lands of The Gourma (northern Sahel) and in the croplands of the Niger-Nigeria border (southern Sahel)
The relationship between Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and rainfall is fairly well established for growing-season rainfall between 250 and 500mm. In desert border zones such as the African Sahel, with rainfall significantly lower than 250mmy-1, this relationship becomes unpredictable. In this paper, we first explore some causes of this unpredictability for The Gourma, an area in the northern Sahel, and find that both the previous year's and current year's rainfall, as well as potential evaporation, play roles in determining seasonal NDVI. We next examine the NDVI-rainfall relationship in an area of the southern Sahel on the Niger-Nigeria border with rainfall fluctuating between approximately 200 and 500mmy-1, and confirm its robustness.