VEGETATION RESPONSE TO CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE SOUTHERN PART OF QINGHAI-TIBET PLATEAU AT BASINAL SCALE
Keywords: NDVI, Vegetation, Climate Change, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau
Abstract. Global climate change has significantly affected vegetation variation in the third-polar region of the world – the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. As one of the most important indicators of vegetation variation (growth, coverage and tempo-spatial change), the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) is widely employed to study the response of vegetation to climate change. However, a long-term series analysis cannot be achieved because a single data source is constrained by time sequence. Therefore, a new framework was presented in this paper to extend the product series of monthly NDVI, taking as an example the Yarlung Zangbo River Basin, one of the most important river basins in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. NDVI products were acquired from two public sources: Global Inventory Modeling and Mapping Studies (GIMMS) Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) and Moderate-Resolution Imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS). After having been extended using the new framework, the new time series of NDVI covers a 384 months period (1982–2013), 84 months longer than previous time series of NDVI product, greatly facilitating NDVI related scientific research. In the new framework, the Gauss Filtering Method was employed to filter out noise in the NDVI product. Next, the standard method was introduced to enhance the comparability of the two data sources, and a pixel-based regression method was used to construct NDVI-extending models with one pixel after another. The extended series of NDVI fit well with original AVHRR-NDVI. With the extended time-series, temporal trends and spatial heterogeneity of NDVI in the study area were studied. Principal influencing factors on NDVI were further determined. The monthly NDVI is highly correlated with air temperature and precipitation in terms of climatic change wherein the spatially averaged NDVI slightly increases in the summer and has increased in temperature and decreased in precipitation in the 32 years period. The spatial heterogeneity of NDVI is in accordance with the seasonal variation of the two climate-change factors. All of these findings can provide valuable scientific support for water-land resources exploration in the third-polar region of the world.