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Temporal greenness trends in stable natural land cover and relationships with climatic variability across the conterminous United States

March 17, 2022

Assessment of temporal trends in vegetation greenness and related influences aids understanding of recent change in terrestrial ecosystems and feedbacks from weather, climate, and environment. We analyzed 1-km normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) timeseries data (1989–2016) derived from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) and developed growing season time-integrated NDVI (GS-TIN) for estimating seasonal vegetation activity across stable natural land cover in the conterminous United States (CONUS). After removing areas from analysis that had experienced land cover conversion or modification, we conducted a monotonic trend analysis on the GS-TIN timeseries and found that significant positive temporal trends occurred over 35% of the area, while significant negative trends were observed over only 3.5%. Positive trends were prevalent in the forested lands of the eastern third of CONUS and far northwest, as well as in grasslands in the north central plains. We observed negative and nonsignificant trends mainly in the shrublands and grasslands across the northwest, southwest, and west central plains. To understand the relationship of climate variability with these temporal trends, we conducted partial and multiple correlation analyses on GS-TIN, growing season temperature, and water-year precipitation timeseries. The GS-TIN trends in northern forests were positively correlated with temperature. The GS-TIN trends in the central and western shrublands and grasslands were negatively correlated with temperature and positively correlated with precipitation. Our results revealed spatial patterns in vegetation greenness trends for different stable natural vegetation types across CONUS, enhancing understanding gained from prior studies based on coarser 8-km AVHRR data.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Temporal greenness trends in stable natural land cover and relationships with climatic variability across the conterminous United States
DOI 10.1175/EI-D-21-0018.1
Authors Lei Ji, Jesslyn F. Brown
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Earth Interactions
Series Number
Index ID 70229808
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center