Seasonal decoupling between vegetation greenness and function over northern high latitude forests

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Su-Jong Jeong1, David Schimel1, Christian Frankenberg1, Darren Drewry1, Joshua B Fisher1, Manish Verma1, Joseph A Berry2, Jung-Eun Lee3, Joanna Joiner4 and Luis Guanter5, (1)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (2)Carnegie Inst Washington, Washington, DC, United States, (3)Brown University, Providence, RI, United States, (4)NASA Goddard SFC, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (5)Free University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany
It is still unclear how seasonal variations in vegetation greenness relate to vegetation function (i.e., photosynthesis). Currently, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) is a widely used proxy for the period of terrestrial carbon uptake. However, new complementary measures are now available. In this study, we compare the seasonal cycle of NDVI with remote sensing of solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) and data-driven gross primary productivity (GPP) over the Northern Hemisphere high latitude forests (40°-55°N). Comparison of the seasonal cycle between these three datasets shows that the NDVI-based phenology has a longer estimated growing season than the growing season estimated using SIF/GPP. The differences are largely explained by a slower decrease in NDVI in the fall relative to SIF/GPP. In the transition seasons, NDVI is linearly related to temperature, while SIF/GPP show nonlinear relationships with respect to temperature. These results imply that autumn greening related to warming found in recent studies may not result in enhanced photosynthesis. Our method of combining remote sensing of NDVI and SIF can help improve our understanding of the large-scale vegetation structural and functional changes.