Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station, Ames, Iowa

2010 Annual Report

1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this Specific Cooperative Agreement (hereinafter referred to as this Agreement) is to produce draft digital maps and grids (layers of map data) and associated data sets for the United States that use the best meteorological and technological information available, and which can be used to develop an approved, updated USDA-ARS Plant Hardiness Zone Map (PHZM) for the United States.

1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Using the PRISM climate modeling system, developed by the Cooperator, draft plant hardiness maps based on 1971-2000 temperature data for the conterminous U.S., Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Alaska will be developed, accompanied by uncertainty analyses, variance maps, and separate maps for the periods 1971-1985 and 1986-2000. These layers of map data and data sets will be reviewed by the Technical Review Team, and their recommendations will be incorporated by the Coopertator into the final deliverables of this Agreement.

At the completion of these tasks, it is the intent of USDA-ARS to use these deliverables to produce a final USDA-ARS PHZM that will fully acknowledge the contribution of the Cooperator in its development.

Once the USDA-ARS PHZM map is produced, it is the intent of USDA-ARS to make it available to the public through a web portal. It is also the intent of ARS to allow the public to download the map and reproduce it without compensation in a wide variety of publications, such as journals, popular press magazines and product catalogues. The USDA-ARS PHZM may also be printed and sold by the National Technical Information Service, General Printing Office of the U.S. Government, or other Federal publishing offices. Therefore, ARS reserves a nonexclusive, irrevocable, royalty free license for the Federal government to publish the map or to authorize others to do so.

Future applications of the USDA-ARS PHZM and the layers of map data contributing to it will be explored between USDA-ARS and the Cooperator, along with discussions about the creation of other digital climatological maps of interest to the USDA-ARS, such as solar radiation, evapotranspiration, and heat unit maps. If USDA-ARS and the Cooperator agree to develop mutually these future applications, this Agreement shall be modified to reflect additional objectives, tasks, deliverables and funding.

3.Progress Report

The ADODR monitors the activities of this project through frequent email and telephone contacts with the Principal Investigator and through close coordination of the activities of the project's Technical Review Team (TRT) with the Office of National Programs via email and teleconferences. Cooperators at Oregon State University are working to produce digital plant hardiness and related maps for the United States. Tasks and deliverables are divided into three phases. In Phase 1, draft 1976-2005 plant hardiness maps for the conterminous US, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Alaska were developed, accompanied by uncertainty analyses, variance maps, and separate maps for the periods 1976-1990 and 1991-2005. A report was prepared to describe the methods used to develop these maps. In Phase 2, the map products from Phase 1 were reviewed by the TRT, revised into final form, and documented. In Phase 3, the development of a web portal and applications for serving the digital plant hardiness data to the public were explored, journal manuscripts prepared, and digital versions of the PHZM created. The project is currently in the wrap-up stage of Phase 3. Work on an Internet Map Server (IMS) to provide user access to the PHZM was completed. The IMS is designed to access the popular Google Maps system, making it easy for users to zoom and pan the map to the desired location. In the IMS, the colorized PHZM is draped over a shaded relief layer to provide terrain-based context for the map. A data base was developed to allow the user to query the map to retrieve the plant hardiness zone and corresponding minimum temperature at any pixel. A separate data base was developed to allow users to enter a zip code and retrieve the associated plant hardiness zone. Oregon State University is advising USDA on identifying a suitable host for the databases. Digital versions of the PHZM were prepared for each state and Puerto Rico. They were exported in two GIS-compatible formats, grid and shape file, and will be delivered to ARS via DVD. A journal manuscript on the development of the PHZM, first-authored by the Principal Investigator, was prepared and submitted to a top-tier climatological journal. The manuscript describes in detail the methods used to develop the PHZM, and provides an analysis of some of the new features of the PHZM available for the first time, such as the effects of terrain on plant hardiness zones. Writing and GIS support for a second manuscript, first-authored by the ADODR, was also provided. This manuscript, aimed at the horticultural community, was submitted to HortTechnology in August 2010. It describes the history of PHZM preparation and use, and provides examples on how the new map can be used to improve horticultural decision-making. Work remaining in Phase 3 includes: (1) transferring the IMS to a suitable web host, and providing technical support; (2) making revisions to the two journal articles as needed for publication; and (3) engaging in discussions about the creation of other digital climatological maps of interest to the USDA-ARS, such as solar radiation, evapotranspiration, and heat unit maps.

Last Modified: 9/4/2015
Footer Content Back to Top of Page