Zolotokrylin, AN; Brito-Castillo, L; Titkova, TB (2020). Local climatically-driven changes of albedo and surface temperatures in the Sonoran Desert. JOURNAL OF ARID ENVIRONMENTS, 178, 104147.

The authors explore a new approach to monitoring patches of ground with accentuated desert conditions, here called "parcels of desertification", resulting from the relation between albedo and surface temperature values. The territory of the El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve in northwestern Sonora, Mexico serves as the example to substantiate the procedure. The region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a feature that guarantees minimum anthropogenic impact in the reserve. The results indicate that the approach was successful in identifying only one parcel of desertification in the study area. The parcel appears annually, though it varies in extent and intensity, when NDVI falls below the values 0.09-0.10 in the spring dry periods (April-June) of 2000-2017. This occurs when the radiation mechanism of surface temperature regulation begins to dominate in relation to the evapotranspiration mechanism. Its localization is practically constant year after year, indicating that it is climatically conditioned, i.e., is not caused by anthropogenic pressure. The intensity of desertification in the parcel has a significant upward trend. Two types of a seasonal course of intensity are established, depending on the change of the SOI sign in the spring.