Phenological models are widely used to estimate the influence of weather and climate on plant development. The goodness of fit of phenological models often is assessed by considering the root-mean-square error (RMSE) between observed and predicted dates. However, the spatial patterns and temporal trends derived from models with similar RMSE may vary considerably. In this paper, we analyse and compare patterns and trends from a suite of temperature-based phenological models, namely extended spring indices, thermal time and photothermal time models. These models were first calibrated using lilac leaf onset observations for the period 1961–1994. Next, volunteered phenological observations and daily gridded temperature data were used to validate the models. After that, the two most accurate models were used to evaluate the patterns and trends of leaf onset for the conterminous US over the period 2000–2014. Our results show that the RMSEs of extended spring indices and thermal time models are similar and about 2 days lower than those produced by the other models. Yet the dates of leaf out produced by each of the models differ by up to 11 days, and the trends differ by up to a week per decade. The results from the histograms and difference maps show that the statistical significance of these trends strongly depends on the type of model applied. Therefore, further work should focus on the development of metrics that can quantify the difference between patterns and trends derived from spatially explicit phenological models. Such metrics could subsequently be used to validate phenological models in both space and time. Also, such metrics could be used to validate phenological models in both space and time.
- Citizen science
- Climate change
- Cloud computing
- Gridded temperature time-series
- Spatio-temporal trends
- Spring plant phenology
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Exploring differences in spatial patterns and temporal trends of phenological models at continental scale using gridded temperature time-series
Mehdi Poor, H. (Research team member), Zurita-Milla, R. (Research team member), Augustijn, E. (Research team member), Izquierdo Verdiguier, E. (Research team member) & Koelen, M. (Creator), DANS , 17 Jun 2020