The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XL-7/W3
Int. Arch. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., XL-7/W3, 225–229, 2015
Int. Arch. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., XL-7/W3, 225–229, 2015

  28 Apr 2015

28 Apr 2015

Responses of vegetation growth to climate change in china

Z. Li1,2 and T. Zhou1,2 Z. Li and T. Zhou
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
  • 2Academy of Disaster Reduction and Emergency Management, Ministry of Civil Affairs and Ministry of Education, Beijing, China

Keywords: Drought, Climate change, SPEI, NDVI, China

Abstract. Global warming-related climate changes have significantly impacted the growth of terrestrial vegetation. Quantifying the spatiotemporal characteristic of the vegetation’s response to climate is crucial for assessing the potential impacts of climate change on vegetation. In this study, we employed the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI) that was calculated for various time scales (1 to 12 months) from monthly records of mean temperature and precipitation totals using 511 meteorological stations in China to study the response of vegetation types to droughts. We separated the NDVI into 12 time series (one per month) and also used the SPEI of 12 droughts time scales to make the correlation. The results showed that the differences exist in various vegetation types. For needle-leaved forest, broadleaf forest and shrubland, they responded to droughts at long time scales (9 to 12 months). For grassland, meadow and cultivated vegetation, they responded to droughts at short time scales (1 to 5months). The positive correlations were mostly found in arid and sub-arid environments where soil water was a primary constraining factor for plant growth, and the negative correlations always existed in humid environments where temperature and radiation played significant roles in vegetation growth. Further spatial analysis indicated that the positive correlations were primarily found in northern China, especially in northwestern China, which is a region that always has water deficit, and the negative correlations were found in southern China, especially in southeastern China, that is a region has water surplus most of the year. The disclosed patterns of spatiotemporal responses to droughts are important for studying the impact of climate change to vegetation growth.