Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

Long-Term Changes to the Frost-Free Season as a Function Of Climatic Continentality

Ian C. Blaylock, Western Kentucky University

Document Type Thesis

Abstract

The beginning, end, and length of the annual frost-free season vary considerably both spatially and temporally. The continentality of the climate of a given area has a close connection with the magnitude and nature of these variations. Long term changes in the frost-free season can be divided into three distinct phases: a lengthening of the frost-free season in the early 20th century, a shortening in the mid-20th century, and a renewed, intensified lengthening from 1970 to today. While oceanic and ultraoceanic climates experience decreased incidence of frosts relative to their continental counterparts, analysis has shown that overall 20th century trend towards an earlier onset, later end, and longer length of the frost-free season has been much more pronounced in regions that experience these climates.