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Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology

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Published Version

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Earth System Science Data Discussion




Fine-resolution satellite observations show great potential for characterizing seasonal and annual dynamics of vegetation phenology in urban domains, from local to regional and global scales. However, most previous studies were conducted using coarse or moderate resolution data, which are inadequate for characterizing the spatiotemporal dynamics of vegetation phenology in urban domains. In this study, we produced an annual vegetation phenology dataset in urban ecosystems for the conterminous United States (US), using all available Landsat images on the Google Earth Engine (GEE) platform. First, we characterized the long-term mean seasonal pattern of phenology indicators of the start of season (SOS) and the end of season (EOS), using a double logistic model. Then, we identified the annual variability of these two phenology indicators by measuring the difference of dates when the vegetation index in a specific year reaches the same magnitude as its long-term mean. The derived phenology indicators agree well with in-situ observations from PhenoCam network and Harvard Forest. Comparing with results derived from the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) data, our Landsat derived phenology indicators can provide more spatial details. Also, temporal trends of phenology indicators (e.g., SOS) derived from Landsat and MODIS are consistent overall, but the Landsat derived results from 1985 have a longer temporal span compared to MODIS from 2001. In general, there is a spatially explicit pattern of phenology indicators from the North to the South in cities in the conterminous US, with an overall advanced SOS in the past three decades. The derived phenology product in the US urban domains at the national level is of great use for urban ecology studies for its fine spatial resolution (30 m) and long temporal span (30 years). The data are available at


This article is published as Li, X., Zhou, Y., Meng, L., Asrar, G. R., Lu, C., and Wu, Q.: A dataset of 30-meter annual vegetation phenology indicators (1985–2015) in urban areas of the conterminous United States, Earth Syst. Sci. Data Discuss., DOI: 10.5194/essd-2019-9, in review, 2019.

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Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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