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Open AccessArticle

Shifting Hardiness Zones: Trends in Annual Minimum Temperature

Department of Civil Engineering and NOAA-CREST, The City College of New York, New York, NY 10031, USA
Climate 2018, 6(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli6010015
Received: 28 December 2017 / Revised: 5 March 2018 / Accepted: 6 March 2018 / Published: 9 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decadal Variability and Predictability of Climate)
Work published in 2012 revealed that annual minimum temperatures over the coterminous United States (USA) have increased faster than mean temperatures, causing a pronounced poleward shift in the positions of hardiness zones defined by the expected annual minimum temperature. Here, estimates of increases in annual minimum temperatures are updated and extended to other land areas where station temperature records are available. Annual minimum temperatures have increased faster than mean temperatures in seasonally cold regions globally, but have warmed at about the same rate as mean temperatures in tropical climates. The mean increase in annual minimum temperature across the available weather stations was 2.0 °C between 1970 and 2016 (or almost 0.5 °C per decade), as compared to an increase of 1.2 °C in mean temperature. Recent cold winters in regions such as Eastern North America did not clearly break with this trend and were within the range of variability seen in past decades. Overall, annual minimum temperatures appear to be increasing steadily, though with considerable inter-annual variability. View Full-Text
Keywords: surface air temperature; winter; climate change; interannual variability; hardiness surface air temperature; winter; climate change; interannual variability; hardiness
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Krakauer, N.Y. Shifting Hardiness Zones: Trends in Annual Minimum Temperature. Climate 2018, 6, 15.

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