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International Journal of Geophysics
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 715321, 14 pages
Research Article

A Spatiotemporal Analysis of Climatic Drivers for Observed Changes in Sahelian Vegetation Productivity (1982–2007)

Department of Geography and Geology, University of Copenhagen, Øster Voldgade 10, 1350 Copenhagen, Denmark

Received 16 February 2011; Accepted 26 September 2011

Academic Editor: Andrea Sealy

Copyright © 2011 Per Skougaard Kaspersen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Linear trend analysis and seasonal trend analysis are performed on gridded data of vegetation, rainfall, solar radiation flux, and air temperature, in order to examine the influence of the past three decades of climate variability and change on the Sahelian vegetation dynamics. Per-pixel correlation analyses are conducted on annual and monthly data, and analyses of change in the potential climatic constraints to the natural vegetation development from 1982–2007 are performed. The results reveal two distinct periods: (a) 1982–1994 marked by large increases in vegetation productivity and rainfall and little change in average air temperatures and solar radiation and (b) 1995–2007 characterized by no distinct trends in vegetation productivity and rainfall and increase in average air temperatures and decrease in solar radiation flux. Correlations between vegetation productivity and climatic constraints were found to be statistically significant only for rainfall explaining only a moderate degree of observed NDVI variation, indicating that nonclimatic factors are also important for the Sahelian vegetation dynamics.