Remotely sensed interannual variations and trends in terrestrial net primary productivity 1981-2000

Mingkui Cao, Stephen D. Prince, Jennifer Small, Scott J. Goetz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

170 Scopus citations


Spatial and temporal variations in net primary production (NPP) are of great importance to ecological studies, natural resource management, and terrestrial carbon sink estimates. However, most of the existing estimates of interannual variation in NPP at regional and global scales were made at coarse resolutions with climate-driven process models. In this study, we quantified global NPP variation at an 8 km and 10-day resolution from 1981 to 2000 based on satellite observations. The high resolution was achieved using the GLObal Production Efficiency Model (GLO-PEM), which was driven with variables derived almost entirely from satellite remote sensing. The results show that there was an increasing trend toward enhanced terrestrial NPP that was superimposed on high seasonal and interannual variations associated with climate variability and that the increase was occurring in both northern and tropical latitudes. NPP generally decreased in El Niño season and increased in La Niña seasons, but the magnitude and spatial pattern of the response varied widely between individual events. Our estimates also indicate that the increases in NPP during the period were caused mainly by increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide and precipitation. The enhancement of NPP by warming was limited to northern high latitudes (above 50°N); in other regions, the interannual variations in NPP were correlated negatively with temperature and positively with precipitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-242
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • AdvanCed Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR)
  • GLObal Production Efficiency Model (GLO-PEM)
  • Interannual variability
  • Net primary production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Remotely sensed interannual variations and trends in terrestrial net primary productivity 1981-2000'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this