Multidecadal Trend Analysis of Armenian Mountainous Grassland and Its Relationship to Climate Change Using Multi-Sensor NDVI Time-Series

Muradyan V.,

Asmaryan Sh.,

Ayvazyan G.,

Dell’Acqua F.



This paper presents a comprehensive analysis of links between satellite-measured vegetation vigor and climate variables in Armenian mountain grassland ecosystems in the years 1984–2018. NDVI is derived from MODIS and LANDSAT data, temperature and precipitation data are from meteorological stations. Two study sites were selected, representing arid and semi-arid grassland vegetation types, respectively. Various trend estimators including Mann–Kendall (MK) and derivatives were combined for vegetation change analysis at different time scales. Results suggest that temperature and precipitation had negative and positive impacts on vegetation growth, respectively, in both areas. NDVI-to-precipitation correlation was significant but with an apparent time-lag effect that was further investigated. No significant general changes were observed in vegetation along the observed period. Further comparisons between results from corrected and uncorrected data led us to conclude that MODIS and LANDSAT data with BRDF, topographic and atmospheric corrections applied are best suited for analyzing relationships between NDVI and climatic factors for the 2000–2018 period in grassland at a very local scale; however, in the absence of correction tools and information, uncorrected data can still provide meaningful results. Future refinements will include removal of anthropogenic impact, and deeper investigation of time-lag effects of climatic factors on vegetation dynamics.