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Growing Season Change and Variability in the Northeastern U.S.

Authors: Anthony Vega*, Clarion University, Robert V. Rohli, Department of Oceanography & Coastal Sciences, Louisiana State University
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, United States, Anthropocene
Keywords: growing season, freeze/frost, climate change, climate variability, northeastern United States
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: Download

Changes in growing season length (GSL) are of concern for agricultural, phenological, economic, epidemiological, and bioclimatological reasons. This research identifies spatial and temporal changes over the last several decades in GSL, along with the Julian day of the last spring freeze and first autumn freeze, for the northeastern United States – a region that is particularly susceptible to such changes due to the large population and intense economic activities. Results suggest that growing season has significantly increased in length since 1980 as compared to prior to 1980, and both spatial and temporal variation in GSL has decreased for the region over time. Changes to GSL for this region are driven more by a shift in the first autumn freeze date than the last spring freeze date. The areas of greatest increase in GSL in the pre- vs. post-1980 period tend to be in the high elevations, near large water bodies, and near the largest cities. Results will assist environmental planners as they prepare mitigation and adaptation strategies amid a changing environment.

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