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Maignan, F, Breon, FM, Bacour, C, Demarty, J, Poirson, A (2008). Interannual vegetation phenology estimates from global AVHRR measurements - Comparison with in situ data and applications. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 112(2), 496-505.

In a previous paper, we described a procedure to correct the directional effects in AVHRR reflectance time series. The corrected measurements show much less high frequency variability than their original counterparts, which makes them suitable to study vegetation dynamics. The time series are used here to estimate the start and ending dates of the growing season for 18 years from 1982 to 1999. We focus on the interannual variations of these phenological parameters. A database of in situ phenology observations is used to quantify the accuracy of the satellite-based estimates. Although based on a limited sampling of the Northern mid and high latitudes, the comparison indicates that i) the satellite phenological product contains meaningful information on interannual onset anomalies; ii) there is a higher degree of consistency over regions covered by Broadleaf Forests, Grasses and cereal Crops than over those covered by Needleleaf Forests or Savannas; and iii) the satellite phenological product is of lower quality in regions with mountainous terrain. In favorable conditions, interannual variations of the onset are captured with an accuracy of a few days. As this satellite-derived product captures the interannual onset variability at ground-truth sites, we confidently use it to larger scales studies. Mapped at a continental scale, the onset anomalies show coherent patterns at the regional (approximate to 1000 km) scale for the mid and high latitudes of the Northern hemisphere, which is consistent with a meteorological forcing. In the tropics, there is larger spatial heterogeneity, which suggests more complex controls of the phenology. The relation between vegetation phenology and climate is further investigated over Europe by comparing the variability of the satellite-derived vegetation onset and that of the winter North Atlantic Oscillation index, at a fine spatial scale. The strong correlations observed confirm that this climate forcing parameter explains most of the onset variability over a large fraction of Northern Europe (earlier onsets for positive winter NAO), with lower impact towards the south and opposite effects around the Mediterranean basin. The NAO has a predictive character as the January-February NAO index is strongly correlated with the vegetation onset that occurs around April in Northern Europe. (C) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.



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