A comparison of growing season indices for the Greater Baltic Area
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- Walther, A. & Linderholm, H.W. Int J Biometeorol (2006) 51: 107. doi:10.1007/s00484-006-0048-5
Predictions of the effects of global warming suggest that climate change may have large impacts on ecosystems. The length of the growing season is predicted to increase in response to increasing global temperatures. The object of this study was to evaluate different indices used for calculating the thermal growing season for the Greater Baltic Area (GBA). We included established indices of growing season start, end and length, as well as new and modified indices. Based on the results, the GBA can be divided into a maritime western part and a more continental eastern part, with the western part reacting more sensitively to the use of different indices. The eastern part is more stable, but even here the index-to-index differences are large. It was found that including or excluding a frost criterion had a significant influence on the initiation of the growing season in the western, maritime, parts of the GBA. Frost has not the same importance for the end of the growing season. However, some end indices can result in a “never ending” growing season. When looking at twentieth century trends in growing season parameters, it was found that, when averaged over the whole GBA, there was little difference in trends depending on the indices used. The general mean trend in the GBA for the twentieth century discloses an earlier onset of c. 12 days, a delayed end of c. 8 days and consequently a lengthening of the growing season of about 20 days.