The Rangeland Journal The Rangeland Journal Society
Rangeland ecology and management
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Assessing the impact of seasonal precipitation and temperature on vegetation in a grass-dominated rangeland

Fang Chen A B C and Keith T. Weber B

A Key Laboratory of Digital Earth Science, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100094, China.

B GIS Training and Research Centre, Idaho State University, 921 S. 8th Avenue, Stop 8104, Pocatello, ID 83209-8104, USA.

C Corresponding author. Email: chenfang@radi.ac.cn

The Rangeland Journal 36(2) 185-190 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/RJ13098
Submitted: 25 September 2013  Accepted: 13 February 2014   Published: 3 April 2014

Abstract

Changes in vegetation are affected by many climatic factors and have been successfully monitored through satellite remote sensing over the past 20 years. In this study, the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), derived from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) onboard the Terra satellite, was selected as an indicator of change in vegetation. Monthly MODIS composite NDVI at a 1-km resolution was acquired throughout the 2004–09 growing seasons (i.e. April–September). Data describing daily precipitation and temperature, primary factors affecting vegetation growth in the semiarid rangelands of Idaho, were derived from the Surface Observation Gridding System and local weather station datasets. Inter-annual and seasonal fluctuations of precipitation and temperature were analysed and temporal relationships between monthly NDVI, precipitation and temperature were examined. Results indicated NDVI values observed in June and July were strongly correlated with accumulated precipitation (R2 >0.75), while NDVI values observed early in the growing season (May) as well as late in the growing season (August and September) were only moderately related with accumulated precipitation (R2 ≥0.45). The role of ambient temperature was also apparent, especially early in the growing season. Specifically, early growing-season temperatures appeared to significantly affect plant phenology and, consequently, correlations between NDVI and accumulated precipitation. It is concluded that precipitation during the growing season is a better predictor of NDVI than temperature but is interrelated with influences of temperature in parts of the growing season.

Additional keywords: growing degree-days, NDVI, periodic accumulated precipitation, Surface Observation Gridding System, vegetation indices.


References

Anyamba, A., and Tucker, C. J. (2005). Analysis of Sahelian vegetation dynamics using NOAA-AVHRR NDVI data from 1981–2003. Journal of Arid Environments 63, 596–614.
Analysis of Sahelian vegetation dynamics using NOAA-AVHRR NDVI data from 1981–2003.CrossRef | open url image1

Barnes, P., Wilson, B. R., Trotter, M. G., Lamb, D. W., Reid, N., Koen, T., and Bayerlein, L. (2011). The patterns of grazed pasture associated with scattered trees across an Australian temperate landscape: an investigation of pasture quantity and quality. The Rangeland Journal 33, 121–130.
The patterns of grazed pasture associated with scattered trees across an Australian temperate landscape: an investigation of pasture quantity and quality.CrossRef | open url image1

Beck, P. S. A., Atzberger, C., Høgda, K. A., Johansen, B., and Skidmore, A. K. (2006). Improved monitoring of vegetation dynamics at very high latitudes: a new method using MODIS NDVI. Remote Sensing of Environment 100, 321–334.
Improved monitoring of vegetation dynamics at very high latitudes: a new method using MODIS NDVI.CrossRef | open url image1

Botkin, D. B., Janak, J. F., and Wallis, J. R. (1972). Some ecological consequences of a computer model of forest growth. Journal of Ecology 60, 849–872.
Some ecological consequences of a computer model of forest growth.CrossRef | open url image1

Chen, F., Weber, K. T., Anderson, J., and Gokhale, B. (2010). Comparison of MODIS fPAR product with Landsat-5 TM fPAR over semiarid rangelands of Idaho. GIScience & Remote Sensing 47, 360–378.
Comparison of MODIS fPAR product with Landsat-5 TM fPAR over semiarid rangelands of Idaho.CrossRef | open url image1

D’odorico, P., and Porporato, A. (2006). ‘Dryland Ecohydrology.’ (Springer: Dordrecht, The Netherlands.)

Davenport, M. L., and Nicholson, S. E. (1993). On the relation between rainfall and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index for diverse vegetation types in East Africa. International Journal of Remote Sensing 14, 2369–2389.
On the relation between rainfall and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index for diverse vegetation types in East Africa.CrossRef | open url image1

du Plessis, W. P. (1999). Linear regression relationships between NDVI, vegetation and rainfall in Etosha National Park, Namibia. Journal of Arid Environments 42, 235–260.
Linear regression relationships between NDVI, vegetation and rainfall in Etosha National Park, Namibia.CrossRef | open url image1

Evans, R. A., and Young, J. A. (1972). Microsite requirements for establishment of annual rangeland weeds. Weed Science 20, 350–356. open url image1

Fensham, R. J., Powell, O., and Horne, J. (2011). Rail survey plans to remote sensing: vegetation change in the Mulga Lands of eastern Australia and its implications for land use. The Rangeland Journal 33, 229–238.
Rail survey plans to remote sensing: vegetation change in the Mulga Lands of eastern Australia and its implications for land use.CrossRef | open url image1

Foody, G. M. (2003). Geographical weighting as a further refinement to regression modelling: an example focused on the NDVI-rainfall relationship. Remote Sensing of Environment 88, 283–293.
Geographical weighting as a further refinement to regression modelling: an example focused on the NDVI-rainfall relationship.CrossRef | open url image1

Goetz, S. J. (1997). Multi-sensor analysis of NDVI, surface temperature and biophysical variables at a mixed grassland site. International Journal of Remote Sensing 18, 71–94.
Multi-sensor analysis of NDVI, surface temperature and biophysical variables at a mixed grassland site.CrossRef | open url image1

Goward, S. N., and Prince, S. D. (1995). Transient effects of climate on vegetation dynamics: satellite observations. Journal of Biogeography 22, 549–563.
Transient effects of climate on vegetation dynamics: satellite observations.CrossRef | open url image1

Harris, G. A., and Goebel, C. J. (1976). ‘Factors of plant competition in seeding Pacific North-west bunchgrass ranges.’ Research Centre Bulletin 820. (Washington State University, College of Agriculture: Pullman, WA.)

Hassan, Q. K., Bourque, C. P. A., Meng, F., and Richards, W. (2007). Spatial mapping of growing degree days: an application of MODIS-based surface temperatures and enhanced vegetation index. Journal of Applied Remote Sensing 1, .
Spatial mapping of growing degree days: an application of MODIS-based surface temperatures and enhanced vegetation index.CrossRef | open url image1

Huete, A., and Jackson, R. D. (1987). Suitability of spectral indices for evaluating vegetation characteristics on arid rangelands. Remote Sensing of Environment 23, 213–232.
Suitability of spectral indices for evaluating vegetation characteristics on arid rangelands.CrossRef | open url image1

Huete, A., Didan, K., Miura, T., Rodriguez, E. P., Gao, X., and Ferreira, L. G. (2002). Overview of the radiometric and biophysical performance of the MODIS vegetation indices. Remote Sensing of Environment 83, 195–213.
Overview of the radiometric and biophysical performance of the MODIS vegetation indices.CrossRef | open url image1

Jobbágy, E. G., and Sala, O. E. (2000). Controls of grass and shrub above-ground production in the Patagonian steppe. Ecological Applications 10, 541–549.
Controls of grass and shrub above-ground production in the Patagonian steppe.CrossRef | open url image1

Jolly, W. M., Graham, J. M., Michaelis, A., Nemani, R., and Running, S. W. A. (2005). Flexible, integrated system for generating meteorological surfaces derived from point sources across multiple geographic scales. Environmental Modelling & Software 20, 873–882.
Flexible, integrated system for generating meteorological surfaces derived from point sources across multiple geographic scales.CrossRef | open url image1

Malo, A. R., and Nicholson, S. E. (1990). A study of rainfall and vegetation dynamics in the African Sahel using normalized difference vegetation index. Journal of Arid Environments 19, 1–24. open url image1

Martínez, B., and Gilabert, M. A. (2009). Vegetation dynamics from NDVI time series analysis using the wavelet transform. Remote Sensing of Environment 113, 1823–1842.
Vegetation dynamics from NDVI time series analysis using the wavelet transform.CrossRef | open url image1

McMaster, G. S., and Wilhelm, W. W. (1997). Growing degree-days: one equation, two interpretations. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 87, 291–300.
Growing degree-days: one equation, two interpretations.CrossRef | open url image1

Myneni, R. B., Keeling, C. D., Tucker, C. J., Asrar, G., and Nemani, R. R. (1997). Increased plant growth in the northern high latitudes from 1981 to 1991. Nature 386, 698–702.
Increased plant growth in the northern high latitudes from 1981 to 1991.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DyaK2sXislOgurw%3D&md5=b5bc060dcd5d7f2755d4bd6a3803d254CAS | open url image1

Nasri, M., and Doescher, P. S. (1995). Effect of temperature on growth of cheatgrass and Idaho fescue. Journal of Range Management 48, 406–409.
Effect of temperature on growth of cheatgrass and Idaho fescue.CrossRef | open url image1

Neilson, R. P., King, G. A., and Koerper, G. (1992). Toward a rule-based biome model. Landscape Ecology 7, 27–43.
Toward a rule-based biome model.CrossRef | open url image1

Rodríguez-Iturbe, I., and Porporato, A. (2004). ‘Ecohydrology of Water-controlled Ecosystems: Soil Moisture and Plant Dynamics.’ (Cambridge University Press: New York.)

Saïdi, S., and Gintzburger, G. (2013). A spatial desertification indicator for Mediterranean arid rangelands: a case study in Algeria. The Rangeland Journal 35, 47–62.
A spatial desertification indicator for Mediterranean arid rangelands: a case study in Algeria.CrossRef | open url image1

Sneva, F. A. (1977). Correlations of precipitation and temperature with spring, regrowth, and mature crested wheatgrass yields. Journal of Range Management 30, 270–275.
Correlations of precipitation and temperature with spring, regrowth, and mature crested wheatgrass yields.CrossRef | open url image1

Sun, C., Sun, Z., Liu, T., Guo, D., Mu, S., Yang, H., Ju, W., and Li, J. (2013). The validation of a model estimating the Leaf Area Index of grasslands in southern China. The Rangeland Journal 35, 245–250.
The validation of a model estimating the Leaf Area Index of grasslands in southern China.CrossRef | open url image1

Wang, J., Rich, P. M., and Price, K. P. (2003). Temporal responses of NDVI to precipitation and temperature in the central Great Plains, USA. International Journal of Remote Sensing 24, 2345–2364.
Temporal responses of NDVI to precipitation and temperature in the central Great Plains, USA.CrossRef | open url image1

Weber, K. T., Sankey, T. T., and Théau, J. (2010). Local-scale validation of the Surface Observation Gridding System with in situ weather observations in a semi-arid environment. International Journal of Remote Sensing 31, 4411–4422.
Local-scale validation of the Surface Observation Gridding System with in situ weather observations in a semi-arid environment.CrossRef | open url image1



Export Citation