Seasonal properties of vegetation covering northern boreal and arctic landscapes are considered important as input to numerous climate change studies. In this study, multitemporal phenological characteristics of Alaskan vegetation were studied for the State as a whole, and 19 of 20 ecoregions were studied using seasonally truncated, composited advanced very high resolution radiometer derived normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data. Phenological characteristics included four temporal and six greenness metrics derived for each year from 1991 to 1997. Temporal metrics included date of onset of greenness, last day of greenness, date of maximum greenness, and total days of greenness. Greenness metrics consisted of NDVI values recorded during the onset and last day of greenness, maximum greenness, mean greenness for the growing season, and estimated rates of greenup and greendown in the spring and autumn, respectively. Results indicated that over many areas of Alaska there was a trend toward earlier onset of greenness each spring from 1992 to 1997, but the last day of greenness in the autumn was roughly the same. Earlier greenup dates in the spring resulted in a lengthened growing season greenup of up to 20 days in some areas of Alaska from 1992 to 1997. Climate data, however, did not always corroborate these findings. In general, greenness values dropped from 1991 to 1992 and then increased from 1992 to 1997. Values obtained after 1991 may have been affected by atmospheric perturbations owing to the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption and lasting until at least 1997.
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