Northern Hemisphere Greening in Association With Warming Permafrost Academic Article uri icon


  • AbstractVegetation is closely tied to climate change, hydrological processes, the carbon cycle, and the energy balance. However, in cold regions, both climate and vegetation changes are also closely coupled to permafrost. The association between amplified warming and greening in Northern Hemisphere permafrost regions is not clearly understood. We therefore produce an extended 19822015 normalized difference vegetation index record based on concatenated Global Inventory Modeling and Mapping Studies and ModerateResolution Imaging Spectroradiometer data to quantify the spatiotemporal patterns of vegetation variability. We also establish spatiotemporal permafrost warming patterns based on a thawing index, active layer thickness, soil temperature, the first thaw date, and thawing days. Next, we establish the association between vegetation and warming permafrost. We find that normalized difference vegetation index increases in approximately 70% of Northern Hemisphere permafrost regions during the growing season (AprilOctober) and in 72% of the region during autumn. Warming permafrost shows a positive relationship with greening. A higher thawing index, greater active layer thickness, higher soil temperature, and also increased precipitation are linked with the observed greening. An earlier first thaw date and an increased number of thawing days also correlate with vegetation greening. These findings underscore the sensitivity of vegetation to warming permafrost. Continued permafrost warming will result in further greening of Northern Hemisphere cold regions (and vice versa), with important implications for the permafrost soilvegetationatmosphere carbon cycles, and the water, nutrient, and energy budgets.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 16.8

author list (cited authors)

  • Peng, X., Zhang, T., Frauenfeld, O. W., Wang, S., Qiao, L., Du, R., & Mu, C.

citation count

  • 32

complete list of authors

  • Peng, Xiaoqing||Zhang, Tingjun||Frauenfeld, Oliver W||Wang, Shijin||Qiao, Lina||Du, Ran||Mu, Cuicui

publication date

  • January 2020