20 years of change in tundra NDVI from coupled field and satellite observations

K. Fred Huemmrich, John Gamon, Petya Campbell, Marianna Mora, Sergio Vargas Z, Brenda Almanza, Craig Tweedie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 2022 we resampled normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) along a 100 m transect in tundra near Utqiagvik, AK that had been previously measured through the 2000-2002 growing seasons, providing an opportunity to examine a 20 year NDVI change at a 1 m resolution in a region that is experiencing increased warming and precipitation over this period. Multidecadal NDVI change was spatially variable across the transect with nearly half of the transect showing greening, about a third not showing conclusive change, and about 20% browning. In wet areas, greening (increased NDVI) was associated with increased green leaf area index, while in drier areas greening was related to changes in species cover. Browning was not related to change in species cover and appeared to be due to increased coverage of standing dead material in graminoid dominated canopies. These types of detailed observations provide insights into the interpretation of satellite based NDVI trends and emphasize the importance of microtopography and hydrology in mediating vegetation change in a warming Arctic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number094022
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • NDVI
  • change
  • observations
  • satellites
  • tundra

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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