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Regional Analysis of NASA Satellite Greenness Trends for Ecosystems of Arctic Alaska

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DOI: 10.4236/ijg.2014.59085    4,838 Downloads   5,297 Views  

ABSTRACT

Trends in the growing season MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) time-series were analyzed for the period from 2000 to 2010 to understand landscape-level patterns of vegetation change in ecosystems of arctic Alaska. We compared datasets for vegetation cover types, wetland cover classes, wildfire boundaries since the 1940s, permafrost type, and elevation to identify the most likely combination of factors driving regional changes in habitat quality and ecosystem productivity. Approximately 57% of all arctic ecosystem areas in Alaska were detected with significant (p < 0.05) positive or negative MODIS growing season EVI trends from 2000 to 2010. Nearly all (99%) of these ecosystem areas (covering 178,050 km2) were detected with significant positive growing season EVI trends. The vast majority of the arctic Alaska region detected with significant positive growing season EVI trends was classified as upland tundra cover, although non-forested wetlands (marshes, bogs, fens, and floodplains) were co-located on 8% of that area. Herbaceous wetlands were co-located on 55% of the total area detected with significant negative growing season EVI trends, mostly on the arctic coastal plain and foothills. This evidence supports the hypothesis that temperature (warming) has markedly enhanced the rates of upland tundra vegetation growth across most of arctic Alaska over recent years.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Potter, C. (2014) Regional Analysis of NASA Satellite Greenness Trends for Ecosystems of Arctic Alaska. International Journal of Geosciences, 5, 997-1006. doi: 10.4236/ijg.2014.59085.

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