Revadekar, JV; Tiwari, YK; Kumar, KR (2012). Impact of climate variability on NDVI over the Indian region during 1981-2010. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REMOTE SENSING, 33(22), 7132-7150.
The normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), derived from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) (1981-2000), and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Aqua data (2000-2010) are analysed to examine their spatio-temporal variability over the Indian region. Climatic factors are well known to be associated with vegetation. Therefore, an attempt has also been made in this study to examine the impact of climate variability on NDVI over the Indian region. The average spatio-temporal patterns of NDVI suggest that the variability in NDVI is well associated with climatic factors such as rainfall and temperature. During hot weather, the all-India NDVI shows the lowest values; the values increase from the onset of the summer monsoon season (June-September) onwards over the Indian region. The NDVI attains its peak value in the month of October. The composite annual cycles of NDVI during drought and flood years also show similar features. During drought years, there is a decrease in all-India NDVI for all months. Opposite features are seen during flood years, with a substantial increase in all-India NDVI from the month of October onwards compared to normal years. This clearly indicates the impact of heavy summer monsoon rainfall over the country on NDVI during winter (October-December) and suggests that soil moisture gained by flood conditions helps the NDVI to increase. In contrast, drought conditions show an immediate effect on NDVI but the incremental changes are of smaller magnitude. Spatial patterns also show similar features, with negative anomalies in NDVI over large parts of the country during drought years and positive anomalies during flood years. There exist year-to-year variations in NDVI depending on the performance of the monsoon. NDVI is positively correlated with rainfall during the southwest (June-September) and northeast (October-December) monsoons over a large part of the country. Also, there exists strong lag correlation between summer monsoon rainfall of the current year and NDVI of the next year, indicating that an increase (decrease) in rainfall during the rainy seasons is favourable (unfavourable) for vegetation during the winter (January and February) and the pre-monsoon season (March-May) of the following year. Thus, the analysis shows significant impact of inter-annual variability of climate on the NDVI over the Indian region. Strong lag correlations between rainfall and NDVI indicate the potential for estimating NDVI over India by the regression method.