Environmental controls on the greening of terrestrial vegetation across northern Eurasia

P. Dass, M. A. Rawlins, J. S. Kimball, Y. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Terrestrial ecosystems of northern Eurasia are greening, yet few studies have provided definitive attribution for the changes. While prior studies point to increasing temperatures as the principle environmental control, influences from moisture and other factors are less clear. We assess how changes in temperature, precipitation, cloudiness and forest fires contribute to the trend in Gross Primary Productivity (GPP) derived from satellite data across northern Eurasia. For the period 1982-2008 we find that GPP, estimated using ensemble satellite NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) observations from GIMMS3g and VIP datasets, is most sensitive to temperature, precipitation and cloudiness during summer, the peak of the growing season. For regional median GPP, summer temperature explains 33.3 % of the variation in GPP, while the other environmental variables explain from 2.2 to 11.8 %. Warming over the period analyzed, even without a sustained increase in precipitation, led to a significant GPP increase over 67.3 % of the region. A significant decrease in GPP was found over 6.2 % of the region, primarily the dryer grasslands in the south-western. For this area, precipitation positively correlates with GPP, as does cloudiness. This shows that the south-western part of northern Eurasia is relatively more vulnerable to drought than other areas. Our results further advance the notion that air temperature is the dominant environmental control for the recent GPP increases across northern Eurasia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9121-9162
Number of pages42
JournalBiogeosciences Discussions
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 18 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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