Large scale pre-rain vegetation green up across Africa

Adole, Tracy and Dash, Jadunandan and Atkinson, Peter Michael (2018) Large scale pre-rain vegetation green up across Africa. Global Change Biology, 24 (9). pp. 4054-4068. ISSN 1354-1013

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Information on the response of vegetation to different environmental drivers, including rainfall, forms a critical input to ecosystem models. Currently, such models are run based on parameters that, in some cases, are either assumed or lack supporting evidence (e.g., that vegetation growth across Africa is rainfall‐driven). A limited number of studies have reported that the onset of rain across Africa does not fully explain the onset of vegetation growth, for example, drawing on the observation of prerain flush effects in some parts of Africa. The spatial extent of this prerain green‐up effect, however, remains unknown, leaving a large gap in our understanding that may bias ecosystem modelling. This paper provides the most comprehensive spatial assessment to‐date of the magnitude and frequency of the different patterns of phenology response to rainfall across Africa and for different vegetation types. To define the relations between phenology and rainfall, we investigated the spatial variation in the difference, in number of days, between the start of rainy season (SRS) and start of vegetation growing season (SOS); and between the end of rainy season (ERS) and end of vegetation growing season (EOS). We reveal a much more extensive spread of prerain green‐up over Africa than previously reported, with prerain green‐up being the norm rather than the exception. We also show the relative sparsity of postrain green‐up, confined largely to the Sudano‐Sahel region. While the prerain green‐up phenomenon is well documented, its large spatial extent was not anticipated. Our results, thus, contrast with the widely held view that rainfall drives the onset and end of the vegetation growing season across Africa. Our findings point to a much more nuanced role of rainfall in Africa's vegetation growth cycle than previously thought, specifically as one of a set of several drivers, with important implications for ecosystem modelling.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Global Change Biology
Additional Information:
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Adole T, Dash J, Atkinson PM. Large‐scale prerain vegetation green‐up across Africa. Glob Change Biol. 2018;24:4054–4068. which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? africaclimate changeecosystem modelsrainfallvegetation phenologyecologyglobal and planetary changeenvironmental science(all)environmental chemistry ??
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Deposited On:
20 Jun 2018 07:44
Last Modified:
06 Feb 2024 00:50