Impact of Climate Change on the Growing Seasons in Select Cities of North Dakota, United States of America

By Badh, Adnan Akyuz, Gary Vocke and Barbara Mullins.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The length of the growing season depends on the last and first day of a base temperature above which plants will grow. Each plant has a different base temperature and their growth stages depend on the daily accumulation of growing degree units above these base temperatures. We used a zero- degree base temperature in this pilot study to be more appropriate to most applications, i.e., the growing season means the days between last and first frost, or approximately the last and first occurrence of 0°C (freezing) overnight low temperature. We demonstrated that first day of the fall frost occurred later as the last day of the frost occurred earlier in time since 1879 on the average in all locations used in North Dakota, United States (US). Combined result yielded longer growing seasons in time since 1879 with varying trends. We tabulated the growing season length of six stations of North Dakota, Northern United States from 1879 to 2008 as well as the first and the last day of frost (based on air temperature being 0°C or lower) for each year. Our prime goal was to calculate the average annual rate of change (trend) in growing season for each location selected. We selected Fargo, Bismarck, Jamestown, Williston, Minot and Pembina based on the accuracy of data, length of period, and availability with the least missing data since the historical climate records have been recorded for those stations. They also provided a diverse spatial resolution to cover the six most prime agricultural locations of the state. Our results show that growing seasons lengthened by 1.2 days per decade on the average in North Dakota.

Keywords: Climate Change, Growing Season Length, North Dakota, Base Temperature

The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp.105-118. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.943MB).


Phd Student, Department of Natural Resources and Management, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, USA

A PhD student in the department of Natural Resources and Management at NDSU. Her research work deals with the impact of climate change on the growing season and crop selection in the United States. Global warming is said to be increasing the average temperature of our globe. She is interested in working with the actual temperature data and predict how the temperature might change in the coming years and how will this affect the lives of the farmers in the United States.

Dr. Adnan Akyuz

North Dakota State Climatologist and Assistant Professor, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, USA

Presently Dr. Adnan Akyuz is the North Dakota State climatologist. He is an assistant professor at NDSU and the director of NDAWN (North Dakota Agricultural Weather) Centre at NDSU. He has been earlier working as Climate Products Services and Outreach Specialist for the National Weather Service, NOAA and was Adjunct Asst. Prof. at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is also the former state climatologist of Missouri. He is involved in a lot of research work related to the impacts of climate change.

Gary Vocke

Agricultaral Economist, Economic Research Services, USDA, Washington, DC, USA

Gary Vocke is coordinator and lead analyst for Economic Research Service’s wheat market research program, which includes the monthly Wheat Outlook. He also contributes to the USDA Agricultural Baseline Projections and the USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum. Previously, Vocke was ERS’s Southeast Asian regional expert. When he first joined ERS in 1984, he investigated the influence of economic development, technology transfer, and policy on agriculture and trade in developing countries. Vocke’s international experience beyond ERS includes 3 years as a consultant to the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture and 2 years to the Thai Ministry of Agriculture.

Barbara Mullins

Data Manager, Agricultural Weather Network, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, USA

Barbara Mullins is a research specialist in the Department of Soil Science at North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND. She is the data acquisition and quality control manager for the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network (NDAWN) Center. Barb is also a ND assistant State Climatologist who provides monthly ND climate summaries.


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