Phenology: An Integrative Environmental Science

Volume 39 of the series Tasks for Vegetation Science pp 453-466

Vegetation Phenology in Global Change Studies

  • Michael A. WhiteAffiliated withDepartment of Aquatic, Watershed, and Earth Resources, Utah State University
  • , Nathaniel BrunsellAffiliated withDepartment of Civil Engineering, Duke University, Research Triangle
  • , Mark D. SchwartzAffiliated withDepartment of Geography, University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee

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Global change, encompassing natural and anthropogenic changes to the Earth system at sub-annual to geologic time scales, has strong interactions with vegetation phenology. In this chapter we will refer to global change as alterations to the Earth system that are certainly or probably influenced by human activity, primarily since the industrial revolution. This form of global change includes irrefutable anthropogenic alterations to terrestrial land cover and alterations to the global climate that are probably anthropogenically influenced. Within this context we discuss three aspects of vegetation phenology: the influence of vegetation phenology on general circulation models (GCMs); a wavelet analysis of phenological patterns and associated evidence of likely phenological responses to direct human-induced land cover alteration; and third, serious challenges regarding the use of phenological data and concepts in global change research.


Global Change Growing season length Land-atmosphere interactions Wavelets AVHRR