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Journal of Environmental Informatics

Online ISSN 1684-8799 / Print ISSN 1726-2135



   Volume 12   Number 2   December  2008 = complimentary


JEI 12(2)2008, Pages 75-87  

© 2008 ISEIS. All rights reserved.

Inter-Annual Changes in Vegetation Activities and Their Relationship to Temperature and Precipitation in Central Asia from 1982 to 2003

P. A. Propastin1,2*, M. Kappas1 and N. R. Muratova2

  1. Department of Geography, Georg-August University Göttingen, Goldschmidtstr, Göttingen 5, 37077, Germany
  2. Laboratory of Remote Sensing and Image Analysis, Kazakh Academy of Science, Shevchenko Street, Almaty 15, 480040, Kazakhstan

*Corresponding author. Tel: +49(0)551-397979 Fax: +49(0)551-398020 Email:



We analyzed inter-annual trends in annual and seasonal vegetation activities in Central Asia from 1982 to 2003 and their correlation to climate variability using the NOAA/AVHRR Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) dataset and a gridded climate dataset. The results indicate a significant increase in NDVI with a value of 11.35% over the growing season during the 22-year period. Totalled over the entire vegetated area, about 35% of all pixels exhibited significant upward trend in growing season NDVI. We found that NDVI increase in spring was the main contributor to the general upward trend, the spring NDVI increased in more than 50% of all pixels and showed an average value of 13.58%. Correlation analysis indicated a gradual rise in temperature as the only factor controlling trend in spring NDVI. Significant increase in vegetation activity was also identified for summer season, but its amplitude (9.23%) and comprising area (25.13% of all vegetated pixels) were less than for spring. Downward trends in growing season NDVI occurred in 2.17% of the total vegetated area. The greening trends of spring, growing season and summer NDVI strongly related with the climatic parameters: for each land cover type, we found significant correlation with spring temperature and total precipitation; 75% of all upward trends in growing season NDVI were explained by the combination of these both variables. We found that the NDVI trends and their climatic correlates demonstrate great spatial variability at the scale of individual land cover types and at per-pixel scale and proofed that the land use change caused by the constitutional change in the 1991 has substantial control on the vegetation trends. Increased vegetation growth indicated through the analysis of NOAA AVHRR NDVI time-series suggests an increasing carbon stock in biomass of ecosystems in Central Asia.

Keywords: central Asia, NDVI time-series, climate change, vegetation response, correlation analysis


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