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A study led by the University of Southampton has shown the greening up of vegetation prior to the rainy season in Africa is more widespread than previously understood.
Geographers from Southampton, working with scientists at Lancaster University, used remote sensing data (satellite imagery), sourced over a 16 year period (2000-2016), to examine when plants in the continent began and finished their green period of growth. This was compared with meteorological data showing the onset and conclusion of the rains.
Researchers - Cent - Vegetation - Beginning - Rainy
The researchers found that over 80 per cent of the natural vegetation commenced greening up before the beginning of the rainy season. This was most prominent in woodlands in the southern part of Africa, which saw greening as early as three months before the start of the rains. Only an estimated four per cent showed greening up after the rain began, and these were confined to the Sudano-Sahelian region above the equator.
The study examined crops, grasslands and woodland. It showed that crops typically began their growing season after the wet weather, while woodlands mainly greened up a week or more before the arrival of the rains. Grasslands fell into two groups, those which greened at the same time as rain and those which greened much earlier.
Jadu - Dash - Professor - Sensing - University
Jadu Dash, Professor in remote sensing at the University of Southampton comments: "These findings...
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