Cool Summer Signature Continues To Start August

Recording the 3rd coldest statewide July in history wasn’t enough for Mother Nature. Cold weather put its signature on the start of August in Minnesota as well. The following locations set new low temperature records for the morning of August 2, 2009:

International Falls 42 degrees F

Crane Lake 39 degrees F

Orr 39 degrees F

Embarrass 37 degrees F

Although the outlook for early August favors cooler than normal weather transitioning into near normal temperatures, the Climate Prediction Center sees a warm up on the way for mid-month that may bring us a few more days with 90 degrees F (or at least many days in the 80s F). This would be welcome by many Minnesota corn farmers are they are watching and worrying about a crop that is running 8 to 11 days behind normal development. Warm temperatures would help it catch up!

  • fred schumacher

    As a retired farmer, I’m happy to see someone connecting phenology to the weather. Plant phenology, the timing of growth stages, is highly correlated to total accumulated heat units, measured in growing-degree days. Phenology acts as a low-pass filter, smoothing day to day variation and providing a long-term view of weather. Numerous years’ worth of phenological data then provides an insight into climate and where that is headed.

    Farmers, of course, are quite cued in to plant phenology, which is why, over the past generation, as global warming has been creeping up on us, farmers have switched to longer-season corn cultivars, which require more growing-degree days to reach maturity. As a result, this summer’s extended cool spell, caused by the jet stream parking itself in the middle of the country, has put corn growth two weeks behind schedule.