Monitoring the vegetation start of season (SOS) across the island of Ireland using the MERIS global vegetation index

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dc.contributor.advisor Cawkwell, Fiona
dc.contributor.advisor Dwyer, Edward O'Connor, Brian 2012-01-17T14:33:34Z 2012-01-17T14:33:34Z 2011-12-22 2011-08 2011-12-22
dc.identifier.citation O’CONNOR, B. 2011. Monitoring the vegetation Start of Season (SOS) across the island of Ireland using the MERIS Global Vegetation Index. PhD, University College Cork. en
dc.identifier.endpage 287
dc.description.abstract The aim of this study was to develop a methodology, based on satellite remote sensing, to estimate the vegetation Start of Season (SOS) across the whole island of Ireland on an annual basis. This growing body of research is known as Land Surface Phenology (LSP) monitoring. The SOS was estimated for each year from a 7-year time series of 10-day composited, 1.2 km reduced resolution MERIS Global Vegetation Index (MGVI) data from 2003 to 2009, using the time series analysis software, TIMESAT. The selection of a 10-day composite period was guided by in-situ observations of leaf unfolding and cloud cover at representative point locations on the island. The MGVI time series was smoothed and the SOS metric extracted at a point corresponding to 20% of the seasonal MGVI amplitude. The SOS metric was extracted on a per pixel basis and gridded for national scale coverage. There were consistent spatial patterns in the SOS grids which were replicated on an annual basis and were qualitatively linked to variation in landcover. Analysis revealed that three statistically separable groups of CORINE Land Cover (CLC) classes could be derived from differences in the SOS, namely agricultural and forest land cover types, peat bogs, and natural and semi-natural vegetation types. These groups demonstrated that managed vegetation, e.g. pastures has a significantly earlier SOS than in unmanaged vegetation e.g. natural grasslands. There was also interannual spatio-temporal variability in the SOS. Such variability was highlighted in a series of anomaly grids showing variation from the 7-year mean SOS. An initial climate analysis indicated that an anomalously cold winter and spring in 2005/2006, linked to a negative North Atlantic Oscillation index value, delayed the 2006 SOS countrywide, while in other years the SOS anomalies showed more complex variation. A correlation study using air temperature as a climate variable revealed the spatial complexity of the air temperature-SOS relationship across the Republic of Ireland as the timing of maximum correlation varied from November to April depending on location. The SOS was found to occur earlier due to warmer winters in the Southeast while it was later with warmer winters in the Northwest. The inverse pattern emerged in the spatial patterns of the spring correlates. This contrasting pattern would appear to be linked to vegetation management as arable cropping is typically practiced in the southeast while there is mixed agriculture and mostly pastures to the west. Therefore, land use as well as air temperature appears to be an important determinant of national scale patterns in the SOS. The TIMESAT tool formed a crucial component of the estimation of SOS across the country in all seven years as it minimised the negative impact of noise and data dropouts in the MGVI time series by applying a smoothing algorithm. The extracted SOS metric was sensitive to temporal and spatial variation in land surface vegetation seasonality while the spatial patterns in the gridded SOS estimates aligned with those in landcover type. The methodology can be extended for a longer time series of FAPAR as MERIS will be replaced by the ESA Sentinel mission in 2013, while the availability of full resolution (300m) MERIS FAPAR and equivalent sensor products holds the possibility of monitoring finer scale seasonality variation. This study has shown the utility of the SOS metric as an indicator of spatiotemporal variability in vegetation phenology, as well as a correlate of other environmental variables such as air temperature. However, the satellite-based method is not seen as a replacement of ground-based observations, but rather as a complementary approach to studying vegetation phenology at the national scale. In future, the method can be extended to extract other metrics of the seasonal cycle in order to gain a more comprehensive view of seasonal vegetation development. en
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher University College Cork en
dc.rights © 2011, Brian O'Connor en
dc.rights.uri en
dc.subject Phenology en
dc.subject Seasonality en
dc.subject Vegetation index en
dc.subject MERIS satellite imagery en
dc.subject FAPAR en
dc.subject.lcsh Plant phenology--Ireland en
dc.subject.lcsh Trees--Growth en
dc.title Monitoring the vegetation start of season (SOS) across the island of Ireland using the MERIS global vegetation index en
dc.type Doctoral thesis en
dc.internal.availability Full text available en
dc.description.version Accepted Version en
dc.contributor.funder Environmental Protection Agency en
dc.description.status Not peer reviewed en Coastal and Marine Research Centre en Geography en

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