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Large scale pre‐rain vegetation green up across Africa

Large scale pre‐rain vegetation green up across Africa
Large scale pre‐rain vegetation green up across Africa
Information on the response of vegetation to different environmental drivers, including rainfall, forms a critical input to ecosystem models. Currently, such models are run based on parameters that, in some cases, are either assumed or lack supporting evidence (e.g., that vegetation growth across Africa is rainfall‐driven). A limited number of studies have reported that the onset of rain across Africa does not fully explain the onset of vegetation growth, for example, drawing on the observation of pre‐rain flush effects in some parts of Africa. The spatial extent of this pre‐rain green‐up effect, however, remains unknown, leaving a large gap in our understanding that may bias ecosystem modelling. This paper provides the most comprehensive spatial assessment to‐date of the magnitude and frequency of the different patterns of phenology response to rainfall across Africa, and for different vegetation types. To define the relations between phenology and rainfall, we investigated the spatial variation in the difference, in number of days, between the start of rainy season (SRS) and start of vegetation growing season (SOS); and between the end of rainy season (ERS) and end of vegetation growing season (EOS). We reveal a much more extensive spread of pre‐rain green‐up over Africa than previously reported, with pre‐rain green‐up being the norm rather than the exception. We also show the relative sparsity of post‐rain green‐up, confined largely to the Sudano‐Sahel region. While the pre‐rain green‐up phenomenon is well documented, its large spatial extent was not anticipated. Our results, thus, contrast with the widely held view that rainfall drives the onset and end of the vegetation growing season across Africa. Our findings point to a much more nuanced role of rainfall in Africa's vegetation growth cycle than previously thought, specifically as one of a set of several drivers, with important implications for ecosystem modelling.
Vegetation phenology, Africa, ecosystem models, climate change, rainfall
1354-1013
Adole, Tracy
04bef52d-cf35-4494-b229-dbe41c6f8e4d
Dash, Jadunandan
51468afb-3d56-4d3a-aace-736b63e9fac8
Atkinson, Peter
96e96579-56fe-424d-a21c-17b6eed13b0b
Adole, Tracy
04bef52d-cf35-4494-b229-dbe41c6f8e4d
Dash, Jadunandan
51468afb-3d56-4d3a-aace-736b63e9fac8
Atkinson, Peter
96e96579-56fe-424d-a21c-17b6eed13b0b

Adole, Tracy, Dash, Jadunandan and Atkinson, Peter (2018) Large scale pre‐rain vegetation green up across Africa. Global Change Biology. (doi:10.1111/gcb.14310).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Information on the response of vegetation to different environmental drivers, including rainfall, forms a critical input to ecosystem models. Currently, such models are run based on parameters that, in some cases, are either assumed or lack supporting evidence (e.g., that vegetation growth across Africa is rainfall‐driven). A limited number of studies have reported that the onset of rain across Africa does not fully explain the onset of vegetation growth, for example, drawing on the observation of pre‐rain flush effects in some parts of Africa. The spatial extent of this pre‐rain green‐up effect, however, remains unknown, leaving a large gap in our understanding that may bias ecosystem modelling. This paper provides the most comprehensive spatial assessment to‐date of the magnitude and frequency of the different patterns of phenology response to rainfall across Africa, and for different vegetation types. To define the relations between phenology and rainfall, we investigated the spatial variation in the difference, in number of days, between the start of rainy season (SRS) and start of vegetation growing season (SOS); and between the end of rainy season (ERS) and end of vegetation growing season (EOS). We reveal a much more extensive spread of pre‐rain green‐up over Africa than previously reported, with pre‐rain green‐up being the norm rather than the exception. We also show the relative sparsity of post‐rain green‐up, confined largely to the Sudano‐Sahel region. While the pre‐rain green‐up phenomenon is well documented, its large spatial extent was not anticipated. Our results, thus, contrast with the widely held view that rainfall drives the onset and end of the vegetation growing season across Africa. Our findings point to a much more nuanced role of rainfall in Africa's vegetation growth cycle than previously thought, specifically as one of a set of several drivers, with important implications for ecosystem modelling.

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Adole_et_al-2018-Global_Change_Biology - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 16 May 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 16 May 2018
Keywords: Vegetation phenology, Africa, ecosystem models, climate change, rainfall

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 421142
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/421142
ISSN: 1354-1013
PURE UUID: 333a9be9-b1aa-4299-a59b-d8ed57b719df
ORCID for Jadunandan Dash: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5444-2109
ORCID for Peter Atkinson: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5489-6880

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 23 May 2018 16:30
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 05:25

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