Liang, Liang, Zhang, Xiaoyang

International Journal of Climatology

Published date August 31, 2015

Coupled spatiotemporal variability of temperature and spring phenology in the Eastern United States

  • States that the timing of spring phenological events of many temperate plants is tied to both warm spring temperatures and accumulated chilling in winter for dormancy release
  • Investigates the geographic patterns of the coupled relationship between warmer spring temperatures and earlier vegetation phenology from 2000 to 2012 in the eastern United States
  • Considers a record early greenup onset that occurred in the U.S. Northeast in 2010 and over a majority of the eastern United States in 2012, which offered unique opportunities to assess spatiotemporal variations of phenology–climate interactions in the context of climate change
  • Identifies potentially offsetting interactions in the US Northeast in which reduced chilling during a warm 2011–2012 winter delayed dormancy break and lessened the advance in greenup onset during the very warm spring in 2012
  • Finds that in the Upper Midwest greenup closely tracked springtime warming
  • Results show that geographic details of phenology–climate interactions unveil how vegetation phenology is closely coupled with both spring and winter temperatures in time and space
  • This study further implied that both different temperature regimes and geographically varied climatic dependencies of vegetation could be responsible for spatially diverse phenological responses to climate change