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Data for: Earlier leaf senescence dates are constrained by soil moisture

Cite this dataset

Wang, Xiaoyue et al. (2023). Data for: Earlier leaf senescence dates are constrained by soil moisture [Dataset]. Dryad.


The unprecedented warming that has occurred in recent decades has led to later autumn leaf senescence dates (LSD) throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Yet, great uncertainties still exist regarding the strength of these delaying trends, especially in terms of how soil moisture affects them. Here we show that changes in soil moisture in 1982–2015 had a substantial impact on autumn LSD in one fifth of the vegetated areas in the Northern Hemisphere (>30° N), and how it contributed more to LSD variability than either temperature, precipitation or radiation. We developed a new model based on soil-moisture-constrained cooling degree days (CDDSM) to characterize the effects of soil moisture on LSD and compared its performance with the cooling degree days (CDD), Delpierre (DM) and spring-influenced autumn (SIAM) models. We show that the CDDSM model with inputs of temperature and soil moisture outperformed the three other models for LSD modelling and had an overall higher correlation coefficient (R), a lower root mean square error (RMSE) and lower Akaike information criterion (AIC) between observations and model predictions. These improvements were particularly evident in arid and semi-arid regions. We studied future LSD using the CDDSM model under two scenarios (SSP126 and SSP585) and found that predicted LSD was 4.1±1.4 days and 5.8±2.8 days earlier under SSP126 and SSP585, respectively, than other models for the end of this century. Our study therefore reveals the importance of soil moisture in regulating autumn LSD and, in particular, highlights how coupling this effect with LSD models can improve simulations of the response of vegetation phenology to future climate change.


See the Methods section in the original paper.


National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 42125101

National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 41901359

CAS Interdisciplinary Innovation Team, Award: JCTD-2020-05

Youth Innovation Promotion Association, Award: 2022051