Advances in Atmospheric Sciences

, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 1421–1432

Impacts of snow cover on vegetation phenology in the arctic from satellite data


DOI: 10.1007/s00376-012-2173-x

Cite this article as:
Zeng, H. & Jia, G. Adv. Atmos. Sci. (2013) 30: 1421. doi:10.1007/s00376-012-2173-x


The dynamics of snow cover is considered an essential factor in phenological changes in Arctic tundra and other northern biomes. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)/Terra satellite data were selected to monitor the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of vegetation phenology and the timing of snow cover in western Arctic Russia (the Yamal Peninsula) during the period 2000–10. The magnitude of changes in vegetation phenology and the timing of snow cover were highly heterogeneous across latitudinal gradients and vegetation types in western Arctic Russia. There were identical latitudinal gradients for “start of season” (SOS) (r2 = 0.982, p < 0.0001), “end of season” (EOS) (r2 = 0.938, p < 0.0001), and “last day of snow cover” (LSC) (r2 = 0.984, p < 0.0001), while slightly weaker relationships between latitudinal gradients and “first day of snow cover” (FSC) were observed (r2 = 0.48, p < 0.0042). Delayed SOS and FSC, and advanced EOS and LSC were found in the south of the region, while there were completely different shifts in the north. SOS for the various land cover features responded to snow cover differently, while EOS among different vegetation types responded to snowfall almost the same. The timing of snow cover is likely a key driving factor behind the dynamics of vegetation phenology over the Arctic tundra. The present study suggests that snow cover urgently needs more attention to advance understanding of vegetation phenology in the future.

Key words

phenologysnowtundra vegetationsatelliteArctic Russiaseasonality

Copyright information

© Chinese National Committee for International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Science Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heqing Zeng (曾贺情)
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gensuo Jia (贾根锁)
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Regional Climate-Environmental for East Asia, Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina