International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 58, Issue 4, pp 547–564 | Cite as

Interannual variations and trends in global land surface phenology derived from enhanced vegetation index during 1982–2010

  • Xiaoyang ZhangEmail author
  • Bin Tan
  • Yunyue Yu
Phenology - Milwaukee 2012


Land surface phenology is widely retrieved from satellite observations at regional and global scales, and its long-term record has been demonstrated to be a valuable tool for reconstructing past climate variations, monitoring the dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems in response to climate impacts, and predicting biological responses to future climate scenarios. This study detected global land surface phenology from the advanced very high resolution radiometer (AVHRR) and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data from 1982 to 2010. Based on daily enhanced vegetation index at a spatial resolution of 0.05 degrees, we simulated the seasonal vegetative trajectory for each individual pixel using piecewise logistic models, which was then used to detect the onset of greenness increase (OGI) and the length of vegetation growing season (GSL). Further, both overall interannual variations and pixel-based trends were examined across Koeppen’s climate regions for the periods of 1982–1999 and 2000–2010, respectively. The results show that OGI and GSL varied considerably during 1982–2010 across the globe. Generally, the interannual variation could be more than a month in precipitation-controlled tropical and dry climates while it was mainly less than 15 days in temperature-controlled temperate, cold, and polar climates. OGI, overall, shifted early, and GSL was prolonged from 1982 to 2010 in most climate regions in North America and Asia while the consistently significant trends only occurred in cold climate and polar climate in North America. The overall trends in Europe were generally insignificant. Over South America, late OGI was consistent (particularly from 1982 to 1999) while either positive or negative GSL trends in a climate region were mostly reversed between the periods of 1982–1999 and 2000–2010. In the Northern Hemisphere of Africa, OGI trends were mostly insignificant, but prolonged GSL was evident over individual climate regions during the last 3 decades. OGI mainly showed late trends in the Southern Hemisphere of Africa while GSL was reversed from reduced GSL trends (1982–1999) to prolonged trends (2000–2010). In Australia, GSL exhibited considerable interannual variation, but the consistent trend lacked presence in most regions. Finally, the proportion of pixels with significant trends was less than 1 % in most of climate regions although it could be as large as 10 %.


Long-term global phenology Interannual variation Trend Remote sensing 



This work was partially supported by NASA MEaSUREs contract NNX08AT05A. We wish to thank Kamel Didan and Armando Barreto Munoz at the University of Arizona for providing long-term EVI2 detest.


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Copyright information

© ISB 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geospatial Sciences Center of Excellence (GSCE)South Dakota State UniversityBrookingsUSA
  2. 2.Earth Resources Technology Inc. at NASA Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbeltUSA
  3. 3.NOAA/NESDIS/STARCollege ParkUSA

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