3 years ago

New perspective on spring vegetation phenology and global climate change based on Tibetan Plateau tree-ring data [Ecology]

New perspective on spring vegetation phenology and global climate change based on Tibetan Plateau tree-ring data [Ecology]
Bao Yang, Fredrik Charpentier Lȷungqvist, Minhui He, Ivan Tychkov, Jussi Griessinger, Eugene Vaganov, Vladimir Shishov, Achim Brauning, Sergio Rossi

Phenological responses of vegetation to climate, in particular to the ongoing warming trend, have received much attention. However, divergent results from the analyses of remote sensing data have been obtained for the Tibetan Plateau (TP), the world’s largest high-elevation region. This study provides a perspective on vegetation phenology shifts during 1960–2014, gained using an innovative approach based on a well-validated, process-based, tree-ring growth model that is independent of temporal changes in technical properties and image quality of remote sensing products. Twenty composite site chronologies were analyzed, comprising about 3,000 trees from forested areas across the TP. We found that the start of the growing season (SOS) has advanced, on average, by 0.28 d/y over the period 1960–2014. The end of the growing season (EOS) has been delayed, by an estimated 0.33 d/y during 1982–2014. No significant changes in SOS or EOS were observed during 1960–1981. April–June and August–September minimum temperatures are the main climatic drivers for SOS and EOS, respectively. An increase of 1 °C in April–June minimum temperature shifted the dates of xylem phenology by 6 to 7 d, lengthening the period of tree-ring formation. This study extends the chronology of TP phenology farther back in time and reconciles the disparate views on SOS derived from remote sensing data. Scaling up this analysis may improve understanding of climate change effects and related phenological and plant productivity on a global scale.

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