Amazon forests' response to droughts: a perspective from the MAIAC product

TitleAmazon forests' response to droughts: a perspective from the MAIAC product
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsBi J., Myneni R., Lyapustin A., Wang Y.J, Park T., Chi C., Yan K., Knyazikhin Y.
JournalRemote Sensing
Date Published2016/04
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number2072-4292
Accession NumberWOS:000375156500089
KeywordsAmazon forests; Atmospheric correction; carbon; degradation; drought; dynamics; impact; MAIAC; model; modis; modis cloud mask; patterns; photosynthesis; Remote sensing; seasonality; sensitivity; vegetation indexes

Amazon forests experienced two severe droughts at the beginning of the 21st century: one in 2005 and the other in 2010. How Amazon forests responded to these droughts is critical for the future of the Earth's climate system. It is only possible to assess Amazon forests' response to the droughts in large areal extent through satellite remote sensing. Here, we used the Multi-Angle Implementation of Atmospheric Correction (MAIAC) Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) vegetation index (VI) data to assess Amazon forests' response to droughts, and compared the results with those from the standard (Collection 5 and Collection 6) MODIS VI data. Overall, the MAIAC data reveal more realistic Amazon forests inter-annual greenness dynamics than the standard MODIS data. Our results from the MAIAC data suggest that: (1) the droughts decreased the greenness (i.e., photosynthetic activity) of Amazon forests; (2) the Amazon wet season precipitation reduction induced by El Nino events could also lead to reduced photosynthetic activity of Amazon forests; and (3) in the subsequent year after the water stresses, the greenness of Amazon forests recovered from the preceding decreases. However, as previous research shows droughts cause Amazon forests to reduce investment in tissue maintenance and defense, it is not clear whether the photosynthesis of Amazon forests will continue to recover after future water stresses, because of the accumulated damages caused by the droughts.

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