Dunn, AH; de Beurs, KM (2011). Land surface phenology of North American mountain environments using moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer data. REMOTE SENSING OF ENVIRONMENT, 115(5), 1220-1233.
Monitoring and understanding plant phenology is becoming an increasingly important way to identify and model global changes in vegetation life cycle events. High elevation biomes cover twenty percent of the Earth's land surface and provide essential natural resources. These areas experience limited resource availability for plant growth, development, and reproduction, and are one of the first ecosystems to reflect the harmful impact of climate change. Despite this, the phenology of mountain ecosystems has historically been understudied due to the rough and variable terrain and inaccessibility of the area. In addition, although numerous studies have used synoptically sensed data to study phenological patterns at the continental and global scales, relatively few have focused on characterizing the land surface phenology in mountainous areas. Here we use the MODIS/Ferra + Aqua satellite 8-day 500 m Nadir BRDF Adjusted Reflectance product to quantify the land surface phenology. We relate independent data for elevation, slope, aspect, solar radiation, and temperature as well as longitude and latitude with the derived phenology estimates. We present that satellite derived SOS can be predicted based on topographic and weather variables with a significant R(2)adj between 0.56 and 0.62 for the entire western mountain range. Elevation and latitude exhibit the most significant influences on the timing of SOS throughout our study area. When examined at both the local and regional scales, as well as when accounting for aspect and temperature, SOS follows closely with Hopkins' Bioclimatic Law with respect to elevation and latitude. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.