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Estimation of winter wheat phenology under the influence of cumulative temperature and soil salinity in the Yellow River Delta, China, using MODIS time-series data

Chu, Lin, Huang, Chong, Liu, Qing-sheng, Liu, Gao-huan
International journal of remote sensing 2016 v.37 no.10 pp. 2211-2232
Triticum aestivum, decision making, developmental stages, environmental factors, environmental impact, heading, heat sums, moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer, normalized difference vegetation index, phenology, prediction, remote sensing, river deltas, soil fertility, soil salinity, soil temperature, time series analysis, winter wheat, China, Yellow River
Understanding the impact of environmental factors on crop phenology is significant in predicting crop growth stages, agricultural decision-making, and yield estimation. Here, using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer time-series data, we present phenological detection mechanisms and an explanation for the phenological variability linked to environmental drivers, such as cumulative temperature and soil salinity, for winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) in the Yellow River Delta in 2013. The 8-day normalized difference vegetation index was fitted to a double Gaussian function. Phenological phases, such as the green-up and heading phases, were extracted using maximum curvature approaches. The spatial characteristics of the phenological patterns were investigated. The relationships between the phenological phases and cumulative temperature were explored. Then, the relationships between the phenological phases and soil salinity were evaluated by selecting sites with similar soil fertility and temperature forcing. This study concluded that the regional average green-up date occurred on 5 March, and the regional average heading date occurred on 9 May. The spatial distributions of the green-up and heading phases showed a gradual delay from the southwest to the northeast and from the south to the north. The green-up phase lagged 4–5 days for every 10 degree days that the cumulative temperature decreased. The heading phase lagged 1–2 days for every 10 degree days that the cumulative temperature decreased. The green-up phase in a non-salinization region might be approximately 5–9 days earlier than that in a severe or moderate salinization region. The heading phase in a severe region might occur approximately 1–8 days earlier than that in a non-salinization or moderate salinization region. The method proposed in this article may be useful for understanding the impact of temperature and soil salinity on phenology and could be used to better manage winter wheat in coastal salinization areas.