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2020 mean annual temperature derived from Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) Land Data Assimilation System (FLDAS) for the country of Bhutan. Pixels display low to high mean temperatures. The shades of blue indicate lower temperatures, while shades of red indicate higher temperatures. Comparing the map to older maps allows us to locate which areas of Bhutan have been affected the most by changes in climate.  Keywords: Remote Sensing, Temperature, FLDAS

Bhutan is vulnerable to climate fluctuations that can affect vegetation phenology patterns. Changes in the climate have raised concerns from local farmers about altered growing seasons. In response, the DEVELOP team assessed annual vegetation phenology trends across Bhutan from 1981-2014 by comparing vegetation phenology-derived data and meteorological data. The project assessed phenology change using Vegetation Index and Phenology (VIP) Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) products from the Advanced Very High-Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) and the Terra and Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors. We also used Climate Hazards Center Infrared Precipitation with Station (CHIRPS) precipitation data and Famine Early Warning System Network Land Data Assimilation System (FLDAS) temperature data to assess climate trends in the country. The team assessed VIP phenology data for 1981-2014 to assess trends for the start of season, day of peak, and length of season. For the main growing season, the results indicated that the start of season and day of peak were delayed, while the length of season increased by 22 days. Analysis of temperature and precipitation data for the early 1980s to present indicted that Bhutan’s temperature has become warmer and precipitation has increased. Satellite-based precipitation and temperature data were compared to in situ precipitation and temperature data, yielding high correlations for both precipitation (R=0.85) and temperature (R=0.9). The project results and methods were shared with the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environmental Research (UWICER) to help assess climate change impacts in Bhutan.