Human Contribution to the Lengthening of the Growing Season during 1950–99

Nikolaos Christidis, Peter A. Stott, Simon Brown, David J. Karoly, John Caesar
2007 Journal of Climate  
Increasing surface temperatures are expected to result in longer growing seasons. An optimal detection analysis is carried out to assess the significance of increases in the growing season length during 1950-99, and to measure the anthropogenic component of the change. The signal is found to be detectable, both on global and continental scales, and human influence needs to be accounted for if it is to be fully explained. The change in the growing season length is found to be asymmetric and
more » ... asymmetric and largely due to the earlier onset of spring, rather than the later ending of autumn. The growing season length, based on exceedence of local temperature thresholds, has a rate of increase of about 1.5 days decade Ϫ1 over the observation area. Local variations also allow for negative trends in parts of North America. The analysis suggests that the signal can be attributed to the anthropogenic forcings that have acted on the climate system and no other forcings are necessary to describe the change. Model projections predict that under future climate change the later ending of autumn will also contribute significantly to the lengthening of the growing season, which will increase in the twenty-first century by more than a month. Such major changes in seasonality will affect physical and biological systems in several ways, leading to important environmental and socioeconomic consequences and adaptation challenges.
doi:10.1175/2007jcli1568.1 fatcat:ry5nf2tdtndgpmbtll7ky5yxvi