Date of this Version
Remote Sensing Letters, 2014 Vol. 5, No. 4, 315–322
This study reports on the first comprehensive global assessment of tropical storm (TS) impacts on coastal ecosystem vegetation along the landfall pathways of major hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons using satellite data of land cover vegetation for the years 2006 to 2012. Wind damage has been shown to reduce live vegetation pools of carbon, accelerate ecosystem respiration fluxes of carbon dioxide and thereby represent a potentially significant positive feedback to terrestrial greenhouse gas emissions. Based on quarterly detection of changes in Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite vegetation greenness, all major TS pathways during the time period were ranked in terms of area of vegetation damage observed. Comparison of vegetation disturbance area along major TS pathways to average rates of disturbance within the same coastal zones (for years during which no TS activity was observed) verified the satellite capability to detect TS ecosystem impacts.