Ding, YX; Li, Z; Peng, SZ (2020). Global analysis of time-lag and -accumulation effects of climate on vegetation growth. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF APPLIED EARTH OBSERVATION AND GEOINFORMATION, 92, 102179.

Climate dominantly controls vegetation over most regions at most times, and vegetation responses to climate change are often asymmetric with temporal effects. However, systematic analysis of the time-lag and time-accumulation effects of climate on vegetation growth, has rarely been conducted, in particular for different vegetation growing phases. Thus, this study aimed to leverage normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) to determine the spatiotemporal patterns of climatic effects on global vegetation growth considering various scenarios of time-lag and/or accumulation effects. The results showed that (i) climatic factors have time-lag and -accumulation effects as well as their combined effects on global vegetation growth for the whole growing season and its subphases (i.e., the growing and senescent phases). However, these effects vary with climatic factors, vegetation types, and regions. Compared with those of temperature, both precipitation and solar radiation display more significant time-accumulation effects in the whole growing season worldwide, but behave differently in the growing and senescent phases in the middle-high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere; (ii) compared to the scenario without time effects, considering time-lag and -accumulation effects as well as their combined effects increased by 17 %, 15 %, and 19 % the overall explanatory power of vegetation growth by climate change for the whole growing season, the growing phase, and senescent phase, respectively; (iii) considering the time-lag and -accumulation effects as well as their combined effects, climate change controls 70 % of areas with a significant NDVI variation from 1982 to 2015, and the primary driving factor was temperature, followed by solar radiation and precipitation. This study highlights the significant time-lag and -accumulation effects of climatic factors on global vegetation growth. We suggest that these effects need to be incorporated into dynamic vegetation models to better understand vegetation growth under accelerating climate change.