Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Title

Microwave Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere and Environment IV


The International Society for Optical Engineering

Publication Date



SPIE Proceedings Volume 5654

First Page


Last Page



Global satellite remote sensing records show evidence of recent vegetation greening and an advance in the onset of the growing season at high latitudes. We apply a terrestrial net primary production (NPP) model driven by satellite observations of vegetation properties and daily surface meteorology from an atmospheric GCM to assess spatial patterns, annual variability, and recent trends in vegetation productivity across Alaska and northwest Canada. We compare these results with regional observations of the timing of growing season onset derived from satellite passive microwave remote sensing measurements from the Special Sensor Microwave Imager, SSM/I. Our results show substantial variability in annual NPP for the region that appears to be driven largely by variations in canopy photosynthetic leaf area and average summer air temperatures. Variability in maximum canopy leaf area and NPP also correspond closely to remote sensing observations of the timing of the primary seasonal thaw event in spring. Relatively early spring thawing appears to enhance NPP, while delays in seasonal thawing and growing season onset reduce annual vegetation productivity. Our results indicate that advances in seasonal thawing and spring and summer warming for the region associated with global change are promoting a general increase in NPP.



Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering. This volume edited by Gail Skofronick Jackson and Seiho Uratsuka.


© 2004 SPIE