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Vegetation and Albedo

This visualization shows, for the example of Africa, the temporal and spatial dynamics of the vegetation and surface albedo.

The surface albedo dataset was compiled from a multitude of single observations to generate a long-term data record covering the period 1983-2005 (Loew & Govaerts, 2010). The vegetation dynamics is represented by the so-called Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), which represents the relative abundance of vegetation in a certain area.

The movie shows the NDVI and surface albedo variability for the period 1986 to 2005. During and after the rainy season in the Sahel, the vegetation starts growing in August, while the surface often darkens with increasing vegetation coverage. However, there are also "green spots" in the Sahara desert. These are not vegetated areas, but correspond to areas with rather dark (low albedo) rock material.

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