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|
Phd Student, Department of Natural Resources and Management, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, USA
North Dakota State Climatologist and Assistant Professor, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, USA
Agricultaral Economist, Economic Research Services, USDA, Washington, DC, USA
Data Manager, Agricultural Weather Network, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, USA
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