Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Soil, Water & Air Resources Research » Research » Research Project #442703

Research Project: Estimating and Projecting Spring Freeze Risk to Midwest Specialty Crops

Location: Soil, Water & Air Resources Research

Project Number: 5030-21600-001-006-G
Project Type: Grant

Start Date: Sep 1, 2022
End Date: Aug 31, 2025

The goal of this work is to develop new information on changes in winter temperature and their impact on apple and peach cultivars across the Midwest through ARS working with the cooperator’s state climate Office. The work will create new information about changing and projected winter temperature issues on specialty crops

The cooperator’s state climate Office will develop new information about the current changes in spring freeze risk on apple and peach tree cultivars and future projections of winter warming and spring freeze risk. Task 1: Calculate historical risks of spring freeze damage to apple and peach cultivars in the Midwest. The cooperator will use gridded daily maximum and minimum temperature datasets along with the Utah winter chill model to calculate seasonal winter chill hour accumulation. Using winter chill hour requirements from multiple apple and peach cultivars, they will use a sequential phenology model to estimate the dates of various phenological stages based on growing degree day accumulation following the winter chill hour requirement. Annual spring freeze damage will be estimated based on documented temperatures below which apple and peach crops are sensitive at the various phenological stages. Task 2: Assess projections of changes in winter chill hours, spring freeze dates, and spring freeze risk to apple and peach cultivars in the Midwest by mid- and late-century under moderate and high emissions scenarios. Following the methods used in Task 1, the cooperator will assess temperature projections from an ensemble of state-of-the-art global climate models under both moderate and high emissions scenarios. They will estimate projected changes in spring freeze dates, winter chill hours, and spring freeze risk for specific apple and peach cultivars.