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Spatial and temporal patterns of greenness on the Yamal Peninsula, Russia: interactions of ecological and social factors affecting the Arctic normalized difference vegetation index
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2009 (English)In: Environmental Research Letters, ISSN 1748-9326, Vol. 4, no 4, 045004- p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The causes of a greening trend detected in the Arctic using the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) are still poorly understood. Changes in NDVI are a result of multiple ecological and social factors that affect tundra net primary productivity. Here we use a 25 year time series of AVHRR-derived NDVI data (AVHRR: advanced very high resolution radiometer), climate analysis, a global geographic information database and ground-based studies to examine the spatial and temporal patterns of vegetation greenness on the Yamal Peninsula, Russia. We assess the effects of climate change, gas-field development, reindeer grazing and permafrost degradation. In contrast to the case for Arctic North America, there has not been a significant trend in summer temperature or NDVI, and much of the pattern of NDVI in this region is due to disturbances. There has been a 37% change in early-summer coastal sea-ice concentration, a 4% increase in summer land temperatures and a 7% change in the average time-integrated NDVI over the length of the satellite observations. Gas-field infrastructure is not currently extensive enough to affect regional NDVI patterns. The effect of reindeer is difficult to quantitatively assess because of the lack of control areas where reindeer are excluded. Many of the greenest landscapes on the Yamal are associated with landslides and drainage networks that have resulted from ongoing rapid permafrost degradation. A warming climate and enhanced winter snow are likely to exacerbate positive feedbacks between climate and permafrost thawing. We present a diagram that summarizes the social and ecological factors that influence Arctic NDVI. The NDVI should be viewed as a powerful monitoring tool that integrates the cumulative effect of a multitude of factors affecting Arctic land-cover change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 4, no 4, 045004- p.
Keyword [en]
Nentsy, reindeer herding, gas development, Bovanenkovo, plants, disturbance, climate change, infrastructure
National Category
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-52203DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/4/4/045004ISI: 000272900500021OAI: diva2:500021
Available from: 2012-02-13 Created: 2012-02-13 Last updated: 2012-03-29Bibliographically approved

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Kaarlejärvi, Elina
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