Climate extremes drive the phenology of a dominant species in meadow steppe under gradual warming

作  者:Ji HC, Yang G, Lv XM, Jia BR, Xu ZZ, Wang YH*
刊物名称:Science of the Total Environment
卷:869  期:  页码:161687


Plant phenology in terrestrial ecosystems, especially in the Northern Hemisphere, is expected to change owing to the projected increasing frequency and intensity of climate extremes in the context of global warming. Although such changes under mean climate change have been extensively reported in the literature, little is known about the impacts of climate extremes. In this study, climatic changes and their effects on plant phenology were characterized using long-term climatic and phenological data from the start and end of the growing season (SOS and EOS, respectively) from 2005 to 2020 for Stipa baicalensis, a dominant species in a temperate meadow steppe. The results showed that the temperature, including the mean and minimum temperatures, and extreme warm indices significantly increased; however, annual precipitation, and the frequency of extreme cold and precipitation events decreased. The SOS of S. baicalensis was initially earlier and later, whereas the EOS trended to be delayed. However, the growing season (LOS) was slightly prolonged. Compared with the indices under mean temperature, the pre-season (before SOS or EOS) minimum temperature dominantly affected SOS and EOS, whereas the mean and extreme precipitation slightly affected them. Furthermore, the findings showed that plant phenology responded to extreme temperatures quicker and stronger than mean temperatures. This study provides insight into how key extreme climatic factors could affect plant phenophases and improve and refine the phenological model. This could also be useful in enhancing grassland ecosystem management and sustainable development.