Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2013, Vol. 68 ›› Issue (5): 593-601.doi: 10.11821/xb201305002

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Changes of spring frost risks during the flowering period of woody plants in temperate monsoon area of China over the past 50 years

DAI Junhu1, WANG Huanjiong1,2, GE Quansheng1   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2012-12-15 Revised:2013-03-02 Online:2013-05-20 Published:2013-05-20
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41030101; No.41171043; National Basic Research Program of China, No.2012CB955304, Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.XDA05090301

Abstract: The temperate monsoon area of China is an important agricultural region but late spring frosts have frequently caused great damage to plants there. Based on phenological data derived from the Chinese Phenological Observation Network (CPON), corresponding meteorological data from 12 study sites and phenological modeling, changes in flowering times of multiple woody plants and the frequency of frost occurrence were analyzed. Through these analyses, frost risk during the flowering period at each site was estimated. Results of these estimates suggested that first flowering dates (FFD) in the study area advanced significantly from 1963 to 2009 at average rates of-1.52 days decade-1 in Northeast China (P < 0.01) and-2.22 days decade-1 (P < 0.01) in North China. During this same period, the number of frost days in spring decreased and the last frost days (LFD) advanced across the study area. Considering both flowering phenology and occurrence of frost, the frost risk index, which measures the percentage of species exposed to frost during the flowering period in spring, showed a decreasing trend of-0.37% decade-1 (insignificant) in Northeast China and-1.80% decade-1 (P < 0.01) in North China. The results indicated the frost risk in the study region decreased over the past half century, and showed remarkable regional difference. These conclusions provide important information for agriculture and forestry managers in devising frost protection schemes.

Key words: climate change, phenology, first flowering date, frost risk, last frost date