Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Soil, Water & Air Resources Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #341327

Research Project: Utilization of the G x E x M Framework to Develop Climate Adaptation Strategies for Temperate Agricultural Systems

Location: Soil, Water & Air Resources Research

Title: Biological Linkages to Climatology

item Hatfield, Jerry
item Kistner-Thomas, Erica
item DOLD, CHRISTIAN - Orise Fellow

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/30/2017
Publication Date: 11/30/2017
Citation: Hatfield, J.L., Kistner-Thomas, E.J., Dold, C. 2017. Biological Linkages to Climatology. In: Hatfield,J.L., Sivakumar, M.V.K.,Prueger, J.H.,editors. Agroclimatology: Linking Agriculture to Climate, Agron. Monogr. 60. Madison, WI: ASA, CSSA, and SSSA.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Biological systems are constrained by climate-derived resources for water, carbon dioxide, and a temperature regime for which they experience no harmful effects. How the biological system responds to this environment determines the capability of a particular species to thrive. Temperature and water are the two primary climate variables that determine the range of plants and their productivity. Agroclimatic indices incorporating climate variables have been used extensively to estimate where plants can be grown. These indices utilize a combination of temperature to define the optimum environment for a plant and precipitation to define whether the water resources are sufficient to allow for plant growth. The temperature response in these indices utilizes the fact that each species has a unique temperature range with a lower and upper threshold and an optimum temperature. For example, cool-season species with optimums near 15-20°C will exist in different areas or grow at different times of the year than warm season species with optimum temperatures between 27-32°C. Defining the proper environment may not be only a function of the optimum temperatures but for some species the exposure to temperatures below a given threshold before they can flower and set fruit. The linkage between biological systems and the climate is determined by the energy balance of biological systems that determine its temperature and rate of water use in a given environment. Understanding these linkages provides the framework needed to evaluate all biological systems and their response to a changing climate.