This article has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. It is in production and has not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.
Influence of climatic factors on variation in NDVI in Mongolian Plateau grasslands
Climate change will affect how the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), which is correlated with climate factors, varies in space and over time. The Mongolian Plateau is an arid and semi-arid area, 64% covered by grassland, which is extremely sensitive to climate change. Its climate has shown a warming and drying trend both at annual and seasonal scales. We analysed NDVI and climate variation characteristics and the relationships between them for Mongolian Plateau grasslands from 1981 to 2013. The results showed spatial and temporal differences in the variation of NDVI. Precipitation showed the strongest correlation with NDVI (43% of plateau area correlated with total annual precipitation and 44% with total growing season precipitation), followed by potential evapotranspiration (27% annual, and 30% growing season), temperature (7% annual, 16% growing season) and cloud cover (10% annual, 12% growing season). These findings confirm that moisture is the most important limiting factor for grassland vegetation growth on the Mongolian Plateau. Climate change, which is projected to involve temperature increases and little or no change in precipitation, can be expected to drive overall decreases in NDVI with continuing spatial and temporal variability.
RJ16073 Accepted 15 August 2017
© Australian Rangeland Society 2017