Leaf onset in the northern hemisphere triggered by daytime temperature

Shilong Piao, Jianguang Tan, Anping Chen, Yongshuo H. Fu, Philippe Ciais, Qiang Liu, Ivan A. Janssens, Sara Vicca, Zhenzhong Zeng, Su Jong Jeong, Yue Li, Ranga B. Myneni, Shushi Peng, Miaogen Shen, Josep Peñuelas

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    228 Citations (Scopus)


    © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved. Recent warming significantly advanced leaf onset in the northern hemisphere. This signal cannot be accurately reproduced by current models parameterized by daily mean temperature (T<inf>mean</inf>). Here using in situ observations of leaf unfolding dates (LUDs) in Europe and the United States, we show that the interannual anomalies of LUD during 1982-2011 are triggered by daytime (T<inf>max</inf>) more than by nighttime temperature (T<inf>min</inf>). Furthermore, an increase of 1°C in T<inf>max</inf> would advance LUD by 4.7 days in Europe and 4.3 days in the United States, more than the conventional temperature sensitivity estimated from T<inf>mean</inf>. The triggering role of T<inf>max</inf>, rather than the T<inf>min</inf> or T<inf>mean</inf> variable, is also supported by analysis of the large-scale patterns of satellite-derived vegetation green-up in spring in the northern hemisphere (>30°N). Our results suggest a new conceptual framework of leaf onset using daytime temperature to improve the performance of phenology modules in current Earth system models.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number6911
    JournalNature Communications
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2015


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