AJCC  Vol.10 No.4 , December 2021
Growing Season and Phenological Stages of Small Grain Crops in Response to Climate Change in Alaska
Abstract: The climate change in Alaska has caused earlier spring snowmelt and the growing season expanded. However, the effect of climate change on crop phenological stages, heading (BBCH 55) and maturity (BBCH 85), is unknown. In this study, the trends of growing-season length (GSL), phenological stages of crops and climatic parameters, and the correlations between climatic parameters and the phenological stages were analyzed using the climate data and crop data over the period of 1978 to 2016. The longer GSL was found in Fairbanks (64.83?N, 147.77?W) and in Delta Junction (64.05?N, 145.60?W) but not in Palmer (61.60?N, 149.11?W). Sowing dates did not change significantly in three locations. The decreasing trends of heading and maturity of crops were observed but varied with location. Heading of barley and oat significantly advanced 3 and 3.1 d decade-1, respectively from 1989 to 2016 in Fairbanks while no change of heading was observed in Delta Junction and Palmer. Maturity of barley, oat and wheat significantly advanced 2.6, 3.8 and 3.9 d decade-1, respectively from 1978 to 2016 in Fairbanks (P < 0.05); maturity of oat and wheat significantly advanced 4.4 and 3.4 d decade-1 from 1978 to 2015, respectively in Delta Junction (P < 0.05). The increasing temperature trends and decreasing precipitation trends were found in Fairbanks and Delta Junction but varied with phenological stages of crops. Sowing was more important for heading than for maturity of crops. The effect of climate change on heading was less important than that on maturity. Earlier maturity of crops in Fairbanks may be attributed to increased temperatures, that in Delta Junction to both increased minimum temperature and decreased precipitation and that in Palmer to temperature and precipitation.
Cite this paper: Cheng, M. , Zhang, M. , Veldhuizen, R. and Knight, C. (2021) Growing Season and Phenological Stages of Small Grain Crops in Response to Climate Change in Alaska. American Journal of Climate Change, 10, 490-511. doi: 10.4236/ajcc.2021.104025.

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