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Greenness trends of Arctic tundra vegetation in the 1990s: comparison of two NDVI data sets from NOAA AVHRR systems

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The primary objective of this study was to compare the sensitivity of two different normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) time series derived from Local Area Coverage (LAC) and Global Areal Coverage (GAC) data sets of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) satellite system. This comparison was conducted in the context of analysing spatiotemporal patterns of Arctic tundra vegetation greenness change in the 1990s within the North Slope of Alaska. A second objective was to examine patterns of greenness change with respect to the distribution of vegetation association types. An 8 km spatial resolution NDVI series was produced by the Global Inventory Modeling and Mapping Studies (GIMMS) group at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center based on a GAC data set and corrected for stratospheric aerosol effects from the eruption of Mt Pinatubo. The LAC (1 km spatial resolution) NDVI time series was generated through recalibration and fine-tuning of image registration of a twice-monthly time series produced by the US Geological Survey, and was cross-calibrated with the GIMMS data set to reduce stratospheric aerosol effects from the Mt Pinatubo eruption. While the general patterns of pixels exhibiting significant increase in seasonally integrated NDVI over the 1990s were similar from both data sets, many of the more localized areas of more rapidly increasing greenness (i.e. 'hotspots') between 1990 and 1999 were lost with the product from the GIMMS data set. The majority of the 'hotspots' of greenness increase within the North Slope region are located in the southern portions of the foothills physiographic province and within vegetation units composed primarily of prostrate or dwarf shrubs with a mixture of graminoid species. Notably fewer hotspots of greenness increase were detected in Arctic tundra areas of the Seward Peninsula and none in the Chukotka Peninsula of the Russian Far East, an area that had not experienced the same warming trend in the 1990s and preceding decades as the Alaskan Arctic.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182-4493, USA 2: Department of Geography, George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA

Publication date: 2007-01-01

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