Vegetation phenology from satellite imagery: the case of the Iberian Peninsula and Balearic Islands (2001-2017)

J.A. Caparros-Santiago, V.F. Rodríguez-Galiano


Phenological dynamics of vegetation is considered as an important biological indicator for understanding the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. Land surface phenology (LSP), the study of vegetation phenology from time series of vegetation indices (IV), has provided a comprehensive overview of ecosystem dynamics. Iberian Peninsula is one of the regions with the greatest diversity of ecosystems in European continent. It is therefore an excellent study area for monitoring phenological dynamics of vegetation. The aim of this study is to analyse the spatial variability of the phenology of the vegetation of the Iberian Peninsula and Balearic Islands for the period 2001-2017. NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) time series were generated from the surface reflectance product MOD09Q1 at a spatial resolution of 250 meters and with a composite period of 8 days. Atmospheric disturbances and noise were reduced using a Savitzky-Golay smoothing filter. Different phenological metrics or phenometrics were extracted using a threshold-based method. Results showed the existence of a different behaviour between spring and autumn phenophases in the Atlantic and Mediterranean biogeographic regions. The Mediterranean mountainous areas showed a similar phenological behaviour to the Atlantic vegetation. Biogeographic regions showed an internal variability, which may be derived from the different behaviour of land covers (e.g., natural vegetation vs. crops).


spring; autumn; seasonality; MODIS; time series

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