Phiri, M; Shiferaw, YA; Tesfamichael, SG (2020). Biome-level relationships between vegetation indices and climate variables using time-series analysis of remotely-sensed data. GISCIENCE & REMOTE SENSING, 57(4), 464-482.

Climatic factors such as rainfall and temperature play a vital role in the growth characteristics of vegetation. While the relationship between climate and vegetation growth can be accurately predicted in instances where vegetation is homogenous, this becomes complex to determine in heterogeneous vegetation environments. The aim of this paper was to study the relationship between remotely-sensed monthly vegetation indices (i.e. Normalized Difference Vegetation Index and Enhanced Vegetation Index) and climatic variables (temperature and precipitation) using time-series analysis at the biome-level. Specifically, the autoregressive distributed lag model (ARDL1 and ARDL2, corresponding respectively to one month and two month lags) and the Koyck-transformed distributed lag model were used to build regression models. All three models estimated NDVI and EVI fairly accurately in all biomes (Relative Root-Mean-Squared-Error (RMSE): 12.0-26.4%). Biomes characterized by relative homogeneity (Grassland, Savanna, Indian Ocean Coastal Belt and Forest Biomes) achieved the most accurate estimates due to the dominance of a few species. Comparisons of lag size (one month compared to two months) generally showed similarities (Akaike Information Criterion (AIC), Bayesian Information Criterion (BIC) and log-likelihood) with quite high comparability in certain biomes - this indicates the utility of the ARDL1 and ARDL2 model, depending on the availability of appropriate data. These findings demonstrate the variation in estimation linked to the biome, and thus the validity of biome-level correlation of climatic data and vegetation indices.