An integrated phenology modelling framework in r

Koen Hufkens, David Basler, Tom Milliman, Eli K. Melaas, Andrew D. Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


Phenology is a first-order control on productivity and mediates the biophysical environment by altering albedo, surface roughness length and evapotranspiration. Accurate and transparent modelling of vegetation phenology is therefore key in understanding feedbacks between the biosphere and the climate system. Here, we present the phenor r package and modelling framework. The framework leverages measurements of vegetation phenology from four common phenology observation datasets, the PhenoCam network, the USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN), the Pan European Phenology Project (PEP725), MODIS phenology (MCD12Q2) combined with (global) retrospective and projected climate data. We show an example analysis, using the phenor modelling framework, which quickly and easily compares 20 included spring phenology models for three plant functional types. An analysis of model skill using the root mean squared (RMSE) error shows little or no difference regardless of model structure, corroborating previous studies. We argue that addressing this issue will require novel model development combined with easy data assimilation as facilitated by our framework. In conclusion, we hope the phenor phenology modelling framework in the r language and environment for statistical computing will facilitate reproducibility and community driven phenology model development, in order to increase their overall predictive power, and leverage an ever growing number of phenology data products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1276-1285
Number of pages10
JournalMethods in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018


  • MODIS land surface phenology
  • PEP725
  • PhenoCam
  • modelling
  • phenology
  • r package

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecological Modeling


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