Long term NOAA-AVHRR GIMMS-NDVI - rainfall relationships and trends 1981 to 2003 for entire DeSurvey area of interest

Research output: Book/ReportReport


The paper presents results of a study on the use of the NOAA AVHRR data for desertification monitoring on a regional-global level. It is based on processing of the GIMMS 8 km global NDVI data set. Time series of annual integrated NDVI and standardized annual NDVI anomalies from the 1981-2003 periodic means were compared with a corresponding rainfall data set (i.e. 1981-2003) as well as a historical rainfall set (1901-2002). Both sets were derived from 2.5 degrees and 0.5 degrees global gridded climate data respectively.

The areas studied include the Mediterranean basin (Southern Europe and Northern Africa), the Sahel from the Atlantic to the Red Sea, major parts of the drylands of Southern Africa, China and the drylands of South America, i.e. important parts of the desertification prone areas of the world (Cf. fig. 1)

It is concluded that the suggested methodology is a robust and reliable way to assess and monitor desertification on a global, national and regional scale. The results of the applied methodology indicate a strong general relationship between NDVI and rainfall over time. The results of performed trend analysis cannot be used to verify any systematic generic land degradation/desertification trend at the regional-global level in any of the regions studied. On the contrary, a “greening-up” seems to be evident over the past 20 years in several of the regions when interpreting the NDVI as a proxy for biomass cover and seasonal vegetation growth.

This is most obvious in the African Sahel region south of the Sahara.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physical Geography


  • Remote sensing, land degradation, global biomass monitoring, desertification
Original languageEnglish
PublisherDeSurvey IP & Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystems Analysis
Number of pages108
VolumeFP6, DeSurvey IP, Sub-deliverable (1)
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NameFP6, DeSurvey IP, Sub-deliverable (1), Deliverables data base
VolumeFP6, DeSurvey IP, Sub-deliverable (1)

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