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Journal of Arid Land  2021, Vol. 13 Issue (4): 332-349    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-021-0056-7
Research article     
Spatiotemporal variation in snow cover and its effects on grassland phenology on the Mongolian Plateau
SA Chula1,2, MENG Fanhao1,2,*(), LUO Min1,2,*(), LI Chenhao1,2, WANG Mulan1,2, ADIYA Saruulzaya3, BAO Yuhai1,2
1College of Geographical Science, Inner Mongolia Normal University, Hohhot 010022, China
2Inner Mongolia Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System, Inner Mongolia Normal University, Hohhot 010022, China
3Institute of Geography and Geoecology, Mongolian Academy of Science, Ulaanbaatar 15170, Mongolia
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Abstract  

Snow cover is an important water source for vegetation growth in arid and semi-arid areas, and grassland phenology provides valuable information on the response of terrestrial ecosystems to climate change. The Mongolian Plateau features both abundant snow cover resources and typical grassland ecosystems. In recent years, with the intensification of global climate change, the snow cover on the Mongolian Plateau has changed correspondingly, with resulting effects on vegetation growth. In this study, using MOD10A1 snow cover data and MOD13A1 Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data combined with remote sensing (RS) and geographic information system (GIS) techniques, we analyzed the spatiotemporal changes in snow cover and grassland phenology on the Mongolian Plateau from 2001 to 2018. The correlation analysis and grey relation analysis were used to determine the influence of snow cover parameters (snow cover fraction (SCF), snow cover duration (SCD), snow cover onset date (SCOD), and snow cover end date (SCED)) on different types of grassland vegetation. The results showed wide snow cover areas, an early start time, a late end time, and a long duration of snow cover over the northern Mongolian Plateau. Additionally, a late start, an early end, and a short duration were observed for grassland phenology, but the southern area showed the opposite trend. The SCF decreased at an annual rate of 0.33%. The SCD was shortened at an annual rate of 0.57 d. The SCOD and SCED in more than half of the study area advanced at annual rates of 5.33 and 5.74 DOY (day of year), respectively. For grassland phenology, the start of the growing season (SOS) advanced at an annual rate of 0.03 DOY, the end of the growing season (EOS) was delayed at an annual rate of 0.14 DOY, and the length of the growing season (LOS) was prolonged at an annual rate of 0.17 d. The SCF, SCD, and SCED in the snow season were significantly positively correlated with the SOS and negatively correlated with the EOS and LOS. The SCOD was significantly negatively correlated with the SOS and positively correlated with the EOS and LOS. The SCD and SCF can directly affect the SOS of grassland vegetation, while the EOS and LOS were obviously influenced by the SCOD and SCED. This study provides a scientific basis for exploring the response trends of alpine vegetation to global climate change.



Key wordssnow cover fraction      snow cover phenology      vegetation phenology      grey relation grade      climate change      Mongolian Plateau     
Received: 12 May 2020      Published: 10 April 2021
Corresponding Authors: MENG Fanhao,LUO Min     E-mail: mfh320@imnu.edu.cn;luomin@imnu.edu.cn
About author: LUO Min (E-mail: luomin@imnu.edu.cn)
* MENG Fanhao (E-mail: mfh320@imnu.edu.cn);
Cite this article:

SA Chula, MENG Fanhao, LUO Min, LI Chenhao, WANG Mulan, ADIYA Saruulzaya, BAO Yuhai. Spatiotemporal variation in snow cover and its effects on grassland phenology on the Mongolian Plateau. Journal of Arid Land, 2021, 13(4): 332-349.

URL:

http://jal.xjegi.com/10.1007/s40333-021-0056-7     OR     http://jal.xjegi.com/Y2021/V13/I4/332

Fig. 1 Overview of the Mongolian Plateau (a) and distribution of grassland types (b)
Fig. 2 Spatial distributions of the snow cover fraction (SCF; a), snow cover duration (SCD; b), snow cover onset date (SCOD; c), and snow cover end date (SCED; d), as well as the variations of the SCF (e), SCD (f), SCOD (g), and SCED (h) in the snow cover season (SCS) on the Mongolian Plateau from 2001 to 2018. DOY, day of year. The SCOD later than 365 DOY is uniformly classified as next year, while the SCED earlier than 1 DOY is uniformly classified as last year.
Fig. 3 Temporal changes in the SCF (a), SCD (b), SCOD (c), and SCD (d) in the SCS on the Mongolian Plateau from 2001 to 2018
Fig. 4 Spatial distributions of the start of growing season (SOS; a), the length of growing season (LOS; b), and the end of the growing season (EOS; c), as well as the changes in SOS (d), LOS (e), and EOS (f) on the Mongolian Plateau from 2001 to 2018
Fig. 5 Temporal changes in the grassland phenology of SOS (a), EOS (b), and LOS (c) on the Mongolian Plateau from 2001 to 2018
Grassland type SCF SCD SCOD SCED
Meadow steppe 0.649** 0.489** -0.300** 0.368**
Typical steppe 0.586** 0.632** -0.336** 0.540**
Desert steppe 0.585** 0.647** -0.267** 0.497**
Alpine steppe 0.567** 0.585** -0.393** 0.522**
Table 1 Pearson correlation coefficient between the snow cover parameters and the start of growing season (SOS) of the four types of grassland on the Mongolian Plateau from 2001 to 2018
Fig. 6 Grey relation grade (GRG) values between the snow cover parameters and the SOS for the four grassland vegetation types on the Mongolian Plateau from 2001 to 2018
Grassland type SCF SCD SCOD SCED
Meadow steppe -0.298** -0.138** 0.081** -0.112**
Typical steppe -0.275** -0.275** 0.202** -0.263**
Desert steppe -0.193** -0.201** 0.150** -0.133**
Alpine steppe -0.484** -0.489** 0.425** -0.402**
Table 2 Pearson correlation coefficient between the snow cover parameters and the end of the growing season (EOS) of the four grassland vegetation types on the Mongolian Plateau from 2001 to 2018
Grassland type SCF SCD SCOD SCED
Meadow steppe -0.626** -0.418** 0.254** -0.319**
Typical steppe -0.615** -0.650** 0.381** -0.573**
Desert steppe -0.624** -0.683** 0.321** -0.511**
Alpine steppe -0.635** -0.650** 0.487** -0.562**
Table 3 Pearson correlation coefficient between the snow cover parameters and the length of the growing season (LOS) of the four grassland vegetation types on the Mongolian Plateau from 2001 to 2018
Fig. 7 GRG values between the snow cover parameters and the EOS (a) and between the snow cover parameters and the LOS (b) of the four grassland vegetation types on the Mongolian Plateau from 2001 to 2018
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