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Climate Change Pressures Plant Hardiness Zones (Map Service)

Metadata Updated: June 21, 2023

Evaluating multiple signals of climate change across the conterminous United States during three 30-year periods (2010�2039, 2040�2069, 2070�2099) during this century to a baseline period (1980�2009) emphasizes potential changes for growing degree days (GDD), plant hardiness zones (PHZ), and heat zones. These indices were derived using the CCSM4 and GFDL CM3 models under the representative concentration pathways 4.5 and 8.5, respectively, and included in Matthews et al. (2018). Daily temperature was downscaled by Maurer et al. ( at a 1/8 degree grid scale and used to obtain growing degree days, plant hardiness zones, and heat zones. Each of these indices provides unique information about plant health related to changes in climatic conditions that influence establishment, growth, and survival. These data and the calculated changes are provided as 14 individual IMG files for each index to assist with management planning and decision making into the future. For each of the four indices the following are included: two baseline files (1980�2009), three files representing 30-year periods for the scenario CCSM4 under RCP 4.5 along with three files of changes, and three files representing 30-year periods for the scenario GFDL CM3 under RCP 8.5 along with three files of changes.�Plant hardiness zones provide a general indication of the extent of overwinter stress experienced by plants. PHZ are based on the average annual extreme minimum temperatures and have been used by horticulturists to evaluate the cold hardiness of plants. Specifically, the value used here is the absolute minimum temperature achieved for each year and reported as the 30-year mean. Because they reflect cold tolerance for many plant species, including woody ones, hardiness zones are most likely to reflect plant range limits. The zonal variations caused by warming temperatures in the future will therefore be useful to approximately delineate niche constraints of many plant species and hence their future range potential. Plant hardiness zones and subzones were delineated according to the USDA definitions, which break the geography into zones by 10 �F (5.56 �C) increments from zone 1 (-55 to -45.6 �C) to zone 13 (15.7 to 22 �C) of annual extreme minimum temperature. To define the coldest day per year, daily minimum temperatures were identified within the period July 1 to June 30, with the nominal year assigned to the first 6 months of the 12-month period.�Original data and associated metadata can be downloaded from this website:�

Access & Use Information

Public: This dataset is intended for public access and use. License: Creative Commons Attribution

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Metadata Created Date November 3, 2022
Metadata Updated Date June 21, 2023

Metadata Source

Harvested from USDA JSON

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date November 3, 2022
Metadata Updated Date June 21, 2023
Publisher U.S. Forest Service
Data First Published 2019-06-07
Data Last Modified 2022-08-25
Category geospatial
Public Access Level public
Bureau Code 005:96
Metadata Context
Schema Version
Catalog Describedby
Harvest Object Id 485c4c26-ac8f-4934-94b5-f369f0d0c2bf
Harvest Source Id d3fafa34-0cb9-48f1-ab1d-5b5fdc783806
Harvest Source Title USDA JSON
Homepage URL
Metadata Type geospatial
Old Spatial -131.3620,6.8980,-65.6380,72.6220
Program Code 005:059
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash 1d9a3e34f79ad683e0630393767d58a467daacb3
Source Schema Version 1.1
Spatial {"type": "Polygon", "coordinates": -131.3620, 6.8980, -131.3620, 72.6220, -65.6380, 72.6220, -65.6380, 6.8980, -131.3620, 6.8980}

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