PhenoCam network harnesses ‘big data’ to predict impact of warmer climate on ecosystem productivity and carbon cycling
A new paper by Northern Arizona University professor Andrew Richardson published in the journal Scientific Data describes a vast network of digital cameras designed to capture millions of images documenting seasonal changes of vegetation across North America. The network, dubbed PhenoCam, is the result of a 10-year collaboration between Richardson, who led the effort, and scientists from the University of New Hampshire and Boston University to develop a reliable continental-scale observatory of phenological phenomena.
Vegetation phenology is what determines the seasonal events in the life cycle of plants, such as dormancy, budding, leafing and flowering. Highly sensitive to climate change, phenology is an important indicator for understanding how ecosystem processes are affected by longer growing seasons brought about by warmer climates.