Vegetation greenness response to water availability in northern China from 1982 to 2006
Abstract. Vegetation and moisture are two key factors of soil genesis and development. An evaluation of the relationship between satellite-observed normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data as a proxy for vegetation greenness and water availability (rainfall and soil moisture) can greatly improve our understanding of how vegetation greenness responds to water availability fluctuations. Using Sen and Pearson's correlation methods, we analyzed the spatiotemporal variation of vegetation greenness for both the entire year and the growing season (GS, 4–10) in northern China from 1982 to 2006. Although vegetation greenness and soil moisture during the study period changed significantly for the entire study area, there was no change in rainfall. Linear correlation analysis between NDVI and rainfall revealed higher correlations using data for all seasons. Higher correlations for NDVI and soil moisture were obtained using growing season data. This study highlights how strongly vegetation greenness responds to water availability dynamics, especially in the growing season period.