Mapping periodic patterns of global vegetation based on spectral analysis of NDVI time series

Laura Recuero, Javier Litago, Jorge Pinzon, M. Huesca Martinez, Maria Carmen Moyano, Alicia Palacios-Orueta

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13 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


Vegetation seasonality assessment through remote sensing data is crucial to understand ecosystem responses to climatic variations and human activities at large-scales. Whereas the study of the timing of phenological events showed significant advances, their recurrence patterns at different periodicities has not been widely study, especially at global scale. In this work, we describe vegetation oscillations by a novel quantitative approach based on the spectral analysis of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) time series. A new set of global periodicity indicators permitted to identify different seasonal patterns regarding the intra-annual cycles (the number, amplitude, and stability) and to evaluate the existence of pluri-annual cycles, even in those regions with noisy or low NDVI. Most of vegetated land surface (93.18%) showed one intra-annual cycle whereas double and triple cycles were found in 5.58% of the land surface, mainly in tropical and arid regions along with agricultural areas. In only 1.24% of the pixels, the seasonality was not statistically significant. The highest values of amplitude and stability were found at high latitudes in the northern hemisphere whereas lowest values corresponded to tropical and arid regions, with the latter showing more pluri-annual cycles. The indicator maps compiled in this work provide highly relevant and practical information to advance in assessing global vegetation dynamics in the context of global change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalRemote sensing
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes


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