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The influence of temperature and precipitation climate regimes on vegetation dynamics in the US Great Plains: a satellite bioclimatology case study

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Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR)-derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data are widely used in global-change research, yet relationships between the NDVI and ecoclimatological variables are not fully understood. This study attempts to model climate-driven vegetation dynamics through the integration of satellite-derived NDVI data with climate data collected from ground-based meteorological stations in the US Great Plains. Monthly maximum value composites of NDVI data (8-km resolution) and monthly temperature and precipitation records from 305 stations were collected from 1982 to 2001. Analyses involving deseasonalized datasets supported temperature as the dominant climate regime, demonstrating a higher average NDVI-temperature correlation (r = 0.73) than the NDVI-precipitation relationship (r = 0.38). Cluster analysis was used to develop a climate regionalization scheme based primarily on temperature, and NDVI characteristics of each subregion were compared. In the context of global climate change, findings from this study emphasize the influence of temperature and precipitation variability over vegetation cover in the Great Plains region.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 3EN, UK,Department of Geography and the Environment, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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