Divergent Arctic-Boreal Vegetation Changes between North America and Eurasia over the Past 30 Years

Author: Arindam Samanta
Type: 
Journal Article
Venue: 
Divergent Arctic-Boreal Vegetation Changes between North America and Eurasia over the Past 30 Years
Citation: 

Bi J, Xu L, Samanta A, Zhu Z, Myneni R. Divergent Arctic-Boreal Vegetation Changes between North America and Eurasia over the Past 30 Years. Remote Sensing. 2013; 5(5):2093-2112.

Abstract: Arctic-Boreal region—mainly consisting of tundra, shrub lands, and boreal forests—has been experiencing an amplified warming over the past 30 years. As the main driving force of vegetation growth in the north, temperature exhibits tight coupling with the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)—a proxy to photosynthetic activity. However, the comparison between North America (NA) and northern Eurasia (EA) shows a weakened spatial dependency of vegetation growth on temperature changes in NA during the past decade. If this relationship holds over time, it suggests a 2/3 decrease in vegetation growth under the same rate of warming in NA, while the vegetation response in EA stays the same. This divergence accompanies a circumpolar widespread greening trend, but 20 times more browning in the Boreal NA compared to EA, and comparative greening and browning trends in the Arctic. These observed spatial patterns of NDVI are consistent with the temperature record, except in the Arctic NA, where vegetation exhibits a similar long-term trend of greening to EA under less warming. This unusual growth pattern in Arctic NA could be due to a lack of precipitation velocity compared to the temperature velocity, when taking velocity as a measure of northward migration of climatic conditions.