Vegetation vulnerability to drought in Spain

F.J. García-Haro, M. Campos-Taberner, N. Sabater, F. Belda, A. Moreno, M.A. Gilabert, B. Martínez, A. Pérez-Hoyos, J. Meliá


Frequency of climatic extremes like long duration droughts has increased in Spain over the last century.

The use of remote sensing observations for monitoring and detecting drought is justified on the basis that vegetation vigor is closely related to moisture condition. We derive satellite estimates of bio-physical variables such as fractional vegetation cover (FVC) from MODIS/EOS and SEVIRI/MSG time series. The study evaluates the strength of temporal relationships between precipitation and vegetation condition at time-lag and cumulative rainfall intervals. From this analysis, it was observed that the climatic disturbances affected both the growing season and the total amount of vegetation. However, the impact of climate variability on the vegetation dynamics has shown to be highly dependent on the regional climate, vegetation community and growth stages. In general, they were more significant in arid and semiarid areas, since water availability most strongly limits vegetation growth in these environments.


drought; vegetation cover; climate; SPI; remote sensing

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