Coupled vegetation-precipitation variability observed from satellite and climate records
Article first published online: 30 JUL 2003
Copyright 2003 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 30, Issue 14, July 2003
How to Cite
2003), Coupled vegetation-precipitation variability observed from satellite and climate records, Geophys. Res. Lett., 30, 1774, doi:10.1029/2003GL017506, 14., , , and (
- Issue published online: 30 JUL 2003
- Article first published online: 30 JUL 2003
- Manuscript Accepted: 22 MAY 2003
- Manuscript Revised: 16 MAY 2003
- Manuscript Received: 8 APR 2003
 Variability in precipitation regimes at seasonal and longer time scales strongly influences ecosystem dynamics in arid and semi-arid regions. In this paper, we use time series of global precipitation and satellite normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data to analyze joint spatial and temporal variability between terrestrial ecosystems and precipitation regimes. Accumulated monthly rainfall anomalies are quantified using a standardized precipitation index (SPI), which provides a better measure of ecologically significant precipitation excess or deficit at growing season time scales relative to monthly precipitation data. Results from canonical correlation analysis reveal geographically extensive patterns of joint NDVI-SPI variability suggestive of strong climate-biosphere coupling. Further, leading modes of covariability are shown to be related to large-scale ocean-atmosphere circulation anomalies. These results illustrate the global extent and sensitivity of ecosystems susceptible to climate change-induced perturbations in precipitation regimes.