Plant phenology monitoring: grace of remote sensing




One of the most unexpected and underrated phenomena controlled by climate change is the shifted phenology of plants. In biogeosciences, phenology simply stands for the life period of plants (like timing of flowering or breeding). Most scientists are interested in the day when flowering or growing season starts and ends because these stages correspond to crucial steps of plant carbon exchange and historically accompanied by important human activities. If you are over your late 20s and live in high latitudes like Northern U.S., Europe, Canada or Russia, you may remember that the time of the year when the leaf growth started or when leaves changed their color in your childhood differs from the period we observe these phenomena nowadays. Scientists have been investigating this effect as a part of phenology change and yes, as you may expect, this effect is also driven by the climate change. In the cities plants can experience even deeper and more rapid phenological changes due to pressuring effect of urban heat island. The technological progress has allowed to map phenology changes using remote sensing. In this context we'd like to share with you a link to a great dataset on phenological changes of US cities in 1998-2015 based on LANDSAT satellite remote sensing. The map above represents SOS (start of season) and EOS (end of season) based on plat flowering in Boise, Idaho in 2015. Data acknowledgments: Source: LANDSAT data Authors: Li et al., 2019 Data link: Dataset

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