Linear trend analysis and seasonal trend analysis are performed on gridded data of vegetation, rainfall, solar radiation flux, and air temperature, in order to examine the influence of the past three decades of climate variability and change on the Sahelian vegetation dynamics. Per-pixel correlation analyses are conducted on annual and monthly data, and analyses of change in the potential climatic constraints to the natural vegetation development from 1982–2007 are performed. The results reveal two distinct periods: (a) 1982–1994 marked by large increases in vegetation productivity and rainfall and little change in average air temperatures and solar radiation and (b) 1995–2007 characterized by no distinct trends in vegetation productivity and rainfall and increase in average air temperatures and decrease in solar radiation flux. Correlations between vegetation productivity and climatic constraints were found to be statistically significant only for rainfall explaining only a moderate degree of observed NDVI variation, indicating that nonclimatic factors are also important for the Sahelian vegetation dynamics.
International Journal of Geophysics, 2011, p. 1-14