Vegetation phenology tracks plants' lifecycle events, revealing the response of vegetation to global climate changes. Changes in vegetation phenology also influence fluxes of carbon, water, and energy at local and global scales. In this study, we analysed a time series of Ku-band radar
backscatter measurements from the SeaWinds scatterometer on board the Quick Scatterometer (QuickSCAT) to examine canopy phenology from 2003 to 2005 across China. The thaw season SeaWinds backscatter and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) leaf area index (LAI) time series
were significantly correlated in 20 of the 22 sites (p < 0.05). A weighted curve-fitting method was applied to detect the start of season and end of season from both data sets. The SeaWinds scatterometer generally detected earlier timing of spring leaf-out and later fall senescence
than the MODIS LAI data sets. The SeaWinds backscatter detected phenological metrics in 75.85% of mainland China. Similar spatial patterns were observed from the SeaWinds backscatter and MODIS LAI time series; however, the average standard deviation of the scatterometer-detected metrics was
lower than that of MODIS LAI products. Overall, the phenological information from the SeaWinds scatterometer could provide an alternative view on the growth dynamics of land-surface vegetation.
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Document Type: Research Article
Centre for Earth Observation and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100094, China
Department of Geography, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, 65211, USA
Publication date: 10 August 2013
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