Sub-seasonal vegetation feedback in Africa

Africa has experienced rapid changes in vegetation state and phenology in recent decades with significant spatial and temporal changes in continental land surface properties, for example, sub-seasonal changes in albedo and transpiration. However, such changes are not considered in the state-of-the-art climate models, and may preclude our understanding of changes in future climate.

Fig. 1 Spatial pattern of maximum of vegetation index PPI derived from Sentinel-2 satellite images, which will be used to improve the simulated vegetation and climate simulated by RCA-GUESS.

This project aims to improve vegetation feedback in Earth system models by considering the sub-seasonal dynamics of vegetation phenology and its biophysical properties. We will take advantage of the multiple high-resolution satellite observations and field measurement to improve the model's parameters in controlling vegetation dynamics and feedback over the semi-arid regions. This interdisciplinary research project will facilitate the application of satellite observations and the development of ecosystem and climate modelling. It will (1) improve the understanding of sub-seasonal changes in biophysical properties in response to climate variation based on the generated high-resolution satellite-based biophysical parameter datasets; (2) generate an improved Earth system model considering sub-seasonal changes in biophysical properties; (3) generate new climate change datasets for Africa with improved vegetation dynamics. The improved methods and datasets will advance climate services with improved estimates of climate risk under future climate in Africa.