Investigating and predicting spatiotemporal variations in vegetation cover in transitional climate zone: a case study of Gansu (China)

Qing He, Kwok Pan Chun*, Bastien Dieppois, Liang Chen, Ping Yu Fan, Emir Toker, Omer Yetemen, Xicai Pan

*Bu çalışma için yazışmadan sorumlu yazar

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4 Atıf (Scopus)


Vegetation ecosystems are sensitive to large-scale climate variability in climate transition zones. As a representative transitional climate zone in Northwest China, Gansu is characterized by a sharp climate and vegetation gradient. In this study, the spatiotemporal variations of vegetation over Gansu are characterized using the satellite-based normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) observations during 2000–2020. Results demonstrate that a significant greening trend in vegetation over Gansu is positively linked with large-scale climate factors through modulating the water and energy dynamics. As a climate transition zone, the northern water-limited and southern energy-limited regions of Gansu are affected by water and energy dynamics, differently. In the water-limited region, a weakening Asian monsoon along with colder Central Pacific (CP) and warmer North Pacific (NP) Oceans enhances prevailing westerlies which bring more atmospheric moisture. The enhanced atmospheric moisture and rising temperature promote the local vegetation growth. In contrast, large-scale climate variations suppress the southwest monsoon moisture fluxes and reduce precipitation in southern energy-limited regions. In these energy-limited regions, temperature has more effects on vegetation growth than precipitation. Therefore, the greenness of vegetation is because of more available energy from higher temperatures despite overall drying conditions in the region. Based on the above mechanism, future scenarios for climate impacts on vegetation cover over Gansu region are developed based on the two latest generation from coupled climate models (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 and Phase 6; CMIP5 and CMIP6). In the near-term future (2021–2039), the vegetation is likely to increase due to rising temperature. However, the vegetation is expected to decrease in a long-term future (2080–2099) when the energy-limited regions become water-limited due to increasing regional temperatures and lowering atmospheric moisture flux. This study reveals an increasing desertification risk over Gansu. Similar investigations will be valuable in climate transition regions worldwide to explore how large-scale climate variability affects local ecological services under different future climate scenarios.

Orijinal dilİngilizce
Sayfa (başlangıç-bitiş)283-307
Sayfa sayısı25
DergiTheoretical and Applied Climatology
Basın numarası1-2
Yayın durumuYayınlandı - Eki 2022

Bibliyografik not

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


This study is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant No: 41771262, 41875116). This research is also supported by the Hong Kong Baptist University Faculty Research Grant (No. FRG1/17–18/044 and No. FRG1/16–17/034). This research is conducted using the resources of the High-Performance Cluster Computing Centre, Hong Kong Baptist University, which receives funding from the Research Grant Council, University Grant Committee of the HKSAR and Hong Kong Baptist University. The corresponding author is the awardee of the Accelerator Programme (AP) 2022–24 in the University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol.

FinansörlerFinansör numarası
High-Performance Cluster Computing Centre
Hong Kong Baptist UniversityFRG1/16–17/034, FRG1/17–18/044
National Natural Science Foundation of China41875116, 41771262

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