The influence of vegetation cover on summer precipitation in China: A statistical analysis of NDVI and climate data

  • Zhang Jingyong
  • Dong Wenjie
  • Fu Congbin
  • Wu Lingyun


This study provides new evidence for the feedback effects of vegetation cover on summer precipitation in different regions of China by calculating immediate (same season), and one-and two-season lagged correlations between the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and summer precipitation. The results show that the correlation coefficients between NDVI in spring and the previous winter and precipitation in summer are positive in most regions of China, and they show significant difference between regions. The stronger one-and two-season lagged correlations occur in the eastern arid/semi-arid region, Central China, and Southwest China out of the eight climatic regions of China, and this implies that vegetation cover change has more sensitive feedback effects on summer precipitation in the three regions. The three regions are defined as sensitive regions. Spatial analyses of correlations between spring NDVI averaged over each sensitive region and summer precipitation of 160 stations suggest that the vegetation cover strongly affects summer precipitation not only over the sensitive region itself but also over other regions, especially the downstream region.

Key words

influence vegetation cover summer precipitation 


  1. Bounoua, L., R. DeFries, G. J. Collatz, P. Sellers, and H. Khan, 2002: Effects of land cover conversion on surface climate.Climatic Change,52, 29–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Braswell, B. H., D. S. Schimel, E. Linder, and B. Moore, 1997: The response of global terrestrial ecosystems to interannual temperature variability.Science,238, 870–872.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Charney, J. G., 1975: Dynamics of deserts and drought in the Sahel.Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc.,101, 193–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Costa, M. H., and J. A. Foley, 2000: Combined effects of deforestation and doubled atmospheric CO2 concentration on the climate of Amazonia.J. Climate,13, 18–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. DeFries, R. S., and co-authors, 1995: Mapping the land surface for global atmosphere-biosphere models: Toward continuous distributions of vegetation’s functional properties.J. Geophys. Res.,100, 20867–20882.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dickinson, R. E., and P. J. Kennedy, 1992: Impacts on regional climate of Amazon deforestation.Geophys. Res. Lett.,19, 1947–1950.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fairhead, J., and M. Leach, 1998:Reframing deforestation: Global analysis and local realities: Studies in West Africa. Routledge, London, 238pp.Google Scholar
  8. Feng Guolin, Dong Wenjie, and Cao Hongxing, 2002: On the dynamic behavior and instability evolution of airsea oscillator.Acta Phys. Sinica,51, 1181–1185.Google Scholar
  9. Feng Guolin, Cao Hongxing, Gao Xinquan, Dong Wenjie, and Chou Jifan, 2001: Prediction of precipitation during summer monsoon with self-memorial model.Advances in Atmospheric Sciences,18, 701–709.Google Scholar
  10. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 1993: Forest resources assessment 1990: Tropical countries. FAO Forestry Paper 112, Rome, FAO.Google Scholar
  11. Fu, C. B., 1994: An aridity trend in China in association with global warming.Climate-Biosphere Interaction: Biogenic Emission and Environment Effects of Climate Change, R. G. Zepp, Ed., John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1–17.Google Scholar
  12. Fu, C. B., and D. Z. Ye, 1998: Towards predictive understanding of the environmental change in China on decadal to centennial scales.Global Environmental Research,1, 83–93.Google Scholar
  13. Fu Congbin, and Wen Gang, 2002: Several issues on aridification in the northern China.Climatic and Environmental Research,7, 22–29. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  14. Gornitz, V., 1985: A survey of anthropogenic vegetation changes in West Africa during the last century: Climatic implications.Climatic Change,7, 285–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Guo Jianping, Gao Suhua, and Mao Fei, 2001: Study on drought tendency and defending countermeasures in north part of China.J. Natural Disasters,10, 32–36. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  16. Nicholson, S. E., C. J. Tucker, and M. B. Ba, 1998: Desertification, drought, and surface vegetation: An example from the West African Sahel.Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.,79, 815–829.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Pan Xiaoling, and Chao Jiping, 2001: The effects of climate on development of ecosystem in oasis.Advances in Atmospheric Sciences,18, 42–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Richard, Y., and I. Poccard, 1998: A statistical study of NDVI to seasonal and interannual rainfall variations in southern Africa.Int. J. Remote Sens,19, 2907–2920.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Sellers, P. J., and F. G. Hall, 1992: FIFE in 1992: Results, scientific gains, and future research directions.J. Geophys. Res.,97, 19091–19109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Wang, Tao, and Wu Wei, 1999: Land use and sandy desertification in Northern China.J. Natural Resources,14, 355–358. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  21. Wei, H. L., and C. B. Fu, 1998: Study of the sensitivity of a regional model in response to land cover change over northern China.Hydrological Processes,12, 2249–2265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Zeng, N., R. E. Dickinson, and X. B. Zeng, 1996: Climatic impact of Amazon deforestation: A mechanistic model study.J. Climate,9, 859–883.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Zhang Jiacheng, and Lin Zhiguang, 1985:Chinese Climate. Shanghai Science and Technology Press, Shanghai, 603pp. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  24. Zhang Jingyong, Dong Wenjie, Fu Congbin, Wang Shuyu, and Xiong Zhe, 2002: Impact of land cover change in East China on regional water balance.Korean Journal of Atmospheric Sciences,5, 101–110.Google Scholar
  25. Zhang Keying, and Zhang Yiping, 1984: The effect of deforestation over Xishuangbanna area on local climate.Forest Meteorology, China Meteorological Press, 14–23. (in Chinese)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Advances in Atmospheric Sciences 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhang Jingyong
    • 1
  • Dong Wenjie
    • 2
  • Fu Congbin
    • 1
  • Wu Lingyun
    • 1
  1. 1.Global Change System for Analysis, Research and Training, Regional Center for Temperate East Asia, Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijing
  2. 2.National Climate CenterBeijing

Personalised recommendations