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Journal of Applied Remote Sensing • Open Access

Remote sensing-based quantification of spatial variation in canopy phenology of four dominant tree species in Europe
Author(s): Qifei Han; Geping Luo; Chaofan Li

Paper Abstract

Spatial variation of phenology is a central feature of global change research. Satellite remote sensing is used for continental to global monitoring due to the limitations of long-term field observations of plant phenology. A threshold method was used to estimate the start of the season, length of the season, maximum normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), and integral NDVI for selected tree species using remote sensing based NDVI data acquired by the VEGETATION instrument on board Satellite Pour l’Observation de la Terre (SPOT VGT NDVI). Afterward, the spatial patterns in the satellite-derived phenological metrics for four dominant tree species (i.e., beech, birch, pine, and spruce) across Europe were characterized. The results indicate that: (1) The SOS occurs 1.6–2.9 days later and the average LOS is 2.7–3 days shorter per 1 deg of latitude increase from south to north. (3) The SOS occurs 0.7–1.8 days later and the LOS was 0.6–2 days shorter per 100-m increase in altitude for the four species. (4) The SOS and LOS across Europe are well correlated with the mean annual air temperature (1°C correlates with a 4.5-day advance in the SOS and a 7-day extension in the LOS). Our research is the first one to characterize the spatial and temporal variations of phenology for different tree species across Europe using remote sensing.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 November 2013
PDF: 15 pages
J. Appl. Remote Sens. 7(1) 073485 doi: 10.1117/1.JRS.7.073485
Published in: Journal of Applied Remote Sensing Volume 7, Issue 1
Show Author Affiliations
Qifei Han, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography (China)
Geping Luo, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography (China)
Chaofan Li, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography (China)


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