Extreme Climate Event and Its Impact on Landscape Resilience in Gobi Region of Mongolia
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/17576
The dzud, a specific type of climate disaster in Mongolia, is responsible for serious environmental and economic damage. It is characterized by heavy snowfall and severe winter conditions, causing mass livestock deaths that occur through the following spring. These events substantially limit socioeconomic development in Mongolia. In this research, we conducted an analysis of several dzud events (2000, 2001, 2002, and 2010) to understand the spatial and temporal variability of vegetation conditions in the Gobi region of Mongolia. The present paper also establishes how these extreme climatic events affect vegetation cover and local grazing conditions using the seasonal aridity index ($_a$AI$_Z$), time-series Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), and livestock data. We also correlated $_a$AI$_Z$, NDVI, and seasonal precipitation in the varied ecosystems of the study area. The results illustrate that under certain dzud conditions, rapid regeneration of vegetation can occur. A thick snow layer acting as a water reservoir combined with high livestock losses can lead to an increase of the maximum August NDVI. The Gobi steppe areas showed the highest degree of vulnerability to climate, with a drastic decline of grassland in humid areas. Another result is that snowy winters can cause a 10 to 20-day early peak in NDVI and a following increase in vegetation growth. During a drought year with dry winter conditions, the vegetation growth phase begins later due to water deficiency, which leads to weaker vegetation growth. Livestock loss and the reduction of grazing pressure play a crucial role in vegetation recovery after extreme climatic events in Mongolia.
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