We are monitoring the timing, the magnitude and the climate drivers of pulses of vegetation growth in highly seasonal environments. This is done in conditions where plant growth is primarily controlled by :

  • snow cover duration and temperature as in the Alps  (more...)

  • rainfall events as in Northern Australia  (more...)

Phenology in the Alps

Since 2011, I started developping a network of high elevation grassland sites with continuous measurements of soil microclimate (volumetric water content, temperature) and phenology with ground measurements of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI).

The network is maintained with the support of the Station Alpine J. Fourier, the Zone Atelier Alpes and the Centre de Recherche sur les Ecosystèmes d'Altitude.

A comparison with regional-scale phenology using relotely sensed data (MODIS) is also undertaken in collaboration with the national and regional parks involved in the Zone Atelier Alpes

NEW ! : See 13 years of greening anomalies* for the :
Parc National des Ecrins
Parc National de la Vanoise
Parc Naturel Régional du Vercors
Parc Naturel Régional du Massif des Bauges

* Anomaly for a given date of the year is estimated with the standard score (or z-score). In the presented maps, blue means a negative z-score (the greening for that year is lower than the average over 2000-2013); green means the reverse.

Example of an animated phenology for Parc National des Ecrins (year 2004). To see more go here


The Pulse of the Alps
An animated phenology for year 2004 in the Parc National des Ecrins
as seen from the satellite MODIS Terra. Courtesy of NASA

Phenology in the Mitchell Grass Country

Semi arid tropical grasslands dominated by the Mitchell grass (Astrebla spp.), the feather-top wire grass (Aristida spp.) and the Blue grass
(Dichanthium spp.) extend over 350 000 km2  in the Northern Territory and Queensland (Australia). These grasslands exhibit strong responses to rainfall events.

In November 2009, three sites in the Mitchell Grass country (Sturt Plains - Elliot, NT; Toorak - Julia Creek, Qld and Rosebank - Longreach, Qld) have been instrumented with soil moisture probes, rain gauge and NDVI sensors. In addition, one site (Sturt Plains) is equipped with a flux tower as part of the OzFlux network.

This work is done in collaboration with Ray Leuning, Bill Sea & Steve Zegelin (from CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Canberra, Australia), Jason Beringer (from Monash University, Melbourne, Australia), Lindsay Hutley (from C. Darwin University, Darwin, Australia) and David Phelps, Ian Houston (from Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Qld, Australia). The project has been partly funded by the FP6 Marie-Curie Human Resource Mobility Progam of the EU.


Instrumented site at Toorak (Qld) on 01.03.2010 (wet season). Credit : David Phelps/DAFF

See the last results obtained at :

Rosebank (Qld 23.514°S 144.256°E)

Toorak (Qld 21.018°S 141.781°E)

Sturt Plains (NT 17.150°S 133.361°E)