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Spring temperature and snow cover climatology drive the advanced springtime phenology (1991–2014) in the European Alps


Xie, Jing; Hüsler, Fabia; de Jong, Rogier; Chimani, Barbara; Asam, Sarah; Sun, Yeran; Schaepman, Michael E; Kneubühler, Mathias (2021). Spring temperature and snow cover climatology drive the advanced springtime phenology (1991–2014) in the European Alps. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 126(3):e2020JG006150.

Abstract

Shifts in phenology are important traces of climate change affecting mountainous ecosystems. We present an analysis of changes in spring phenology using a suite of Earth observation based parameters, i.e., start of season (SOS), snow cover extent and meteorological variables from 1991 up to 2012/2014 for the European Alps. Our results show that SOS tends to occur earlier throughout the Alps during this period and spring temperatures have increased in the Eastern Alps. Spring temperatures presented a predominant influence on SOS for both, grasslands and forests across elevations between 500–2,200 m asl, while this effect is particularly pronounced in the northeastern Alps. Snow cover duration and snow cover melting days showed secondary impact on SOS. Our research provides a comprehensive observation of spatiotemporal changes in alpine spring vegetation phenology and its driving factors. They improve our understanding of the sensitivity of the European Alps ecosystems to a changing climate.

Abstract

Shifts in phenology are important traces of climate change affecting mountainous ecosystems. We present an analysis of changes in spring phenology using a suite of Earth observation based parameters, i.e., start of season (SOS), snow cover extent and meteorological variables from 1991 up to 2012/2014 for the European Alps. Our results show that SOS tends to occur earlier throughout the Alps during this period and spring temperatures have increased in the Eastern Alps. Spring temperatures presented a predominant influence on SOS for both, grasslands and forests across elevations between 500–2,200 m asl, while this effect is particularly pronounced in the northeastern Alps. Snow cover duration and snow cover melting days showed secondary impact on SOS. Our research provides a comprehensive observation of spatiotemporal changes in alpine spring vegetation phenology and its driving factors. They improve our understanding of the sensitivity of the European Alps ecosystems to a changing climate.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 Research Priority Programs > Global Change and Biodiversity
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Soil Science
Life Sciences > Forestry
Physical Sciences > Water Science and Technology
Physical Sciences > Paleontology
Physical Sciences > Atmospheric Science
Life Sciences > Aquatic Science
Physical Sciences > Ecology
Language:English
Date:6 March 2021
Deposited On:19 Mar 2021 15:02
Last Modified:24 Feb 2024 02:49
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:2169-8953
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1029/2020jg006150
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)