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The North Atlantic Oscillation and regional phenology prediction over Europe


Benjamin I. Cook, fax +1 434 983 2137, e-mail:


We present an integrated modeling study designed to investigate changes in ecosystem level phenology over Europe associated with changes in climate pattern, by the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). We derived onset dates from processed NDVI data sets and used growing degree day (GDD) summations from the NCEP re-analysis to calibrate and validate a phenology model to predict the onset of the growing season over Europe. In a cross-validation hindcast, the model (PHENOM) is able to explain 63% of the variance in onset date for grid cells containing at least 50% mixed and boreal forest. Using a model developed from previous work we performed climate change scenarios, generating synthetic temperature and GDD distributions under a hypothetically increasing NAO. These new distributions were used to drive PHENOM and project changes in the timing of onset for forested cells over Europe. Results from the climate change scenarios indicate that, if the current trend in the NAO continues, there is the potential for a continued advance to the start of the growing season by as much as 13 days in some areas.