Is the Arctic really greening?

Friday, 19 December 2014: 4:45 PM
John Arthur Gamon, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
In the Arctic, satellite remote sensing is often confounded by dynamic atmospheric and surface features, including varying clouds, snow, ice, and water. Field experiments comparing proximal and satellite remote sensing can be used to understand these confounding effects, improving our understanding of the true surface dynamics of arctic ecosystems. This presentation uses field data from sites in Alaska and Canada to better understand how varying surface and atmospheric conditions confound interpretation of vegetation remote sensing. In particular, satellite NDVI trends suggesting arctic greening could be caused by several other factors including changing hydrology, snowmelt, or sky conditions. Systematic monitoring involving proximal remote sensing is needed to better address this topic and clarify the true trends in arctic surface conditions.