The response of spring phenology to urbanization and climate change

Authors: Lin Meng*, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Yuyu Zhou, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Jiafu Mao, Environmental Sciences Division and Climate Change Science Institute, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Xuecao Li, Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, Ghasserm R. Asrar, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Joint Global Change Research Institute
Topics: Biogeography, Global Change
Keywords: Spring phenology, urbanization, remote sensing, SOS
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Senate Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Vegetation spring phenology has shifted early as a response to recent warming trends in the Northern Hemisphere. Changes in the timing and duration of spring phenology (e.g., start of season, SOS) have significant influences on forest ecosystems through changes in biogeochemical processes and land surface properties. Together, these changes influence the regional and global-scale cycling of carbon, water, and nutrients of terrestrial ecosystems. Besides climate warming, urban trees are influenced by modified urban environments. For example, urban heat island, characterized by elevated air temperature in urban areas compared to surrounding rural areas, has recently found to have significant impacts on vegetation phenology. However, a quantitative description of phenology response to the future warmer climate and urbanization is currently lacking. We examined the response of satellite-derived SOS to the changes in temperature in the large cities across the United States during the period 2000-2014. We found a significant correlation between SOS and temperature along urban-rural gradients and over time. Furthermore, the magnitude of the SOS responses to urbanization and climate change show large regional variations. Our finding suggests that the phenology responses to urbanization and climate change are highly uncertain, and an improved understanding of the mechanisms of temperature on phenology is highly needed in future studies.

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