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CR 84:59-73 (2021)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01659

Climatology and variability of the start, end, and length of the frost-free season across Iran

Mohammad Sadegh Keikhosravi Kiany1,*, Seyed Abolfazl Masoodian1, Robert C. Balling Jr.2

1Faculty of Geographical Sciences and Planning, University of Isfahan, 8174673441 Isfahan, Iran
2School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Climate change can manifest in many ways, including impacts on the start, end, and duration of the frost-free season. We examined the climatology and variability of the first fall frost day (FFFD), last spring frost day (LSFD), and length of the frost-free season (LFFS) across Iran for the period 1978-2017. Trend analysis revealed that FFFD shifted later by 6.4 d over the study period while LSFD shifted earlier by slightly over 2 wk, and LFFS is now >3 wk longer than it was only 4 decades ago. Since land-use changes around meteorological stations may affect the temperature measured at these stations (especially the magnitudes of nocturnal cooling rates), atmospheric thickness changes, which reflect temperature changes and are independent of station-based measurements, were used as a secondary dataset to investigate minimum temperature trends. The analysis revealed a very strong relationship between frost-related indices and atmospheric thickness. Sequential Mann-Kendall statistical analysis revealed abrupt changes in the applied frost-related indices, minimum temperatures, and atmospheric thicknesses. The first abrupt changes in FFFD and LFFS occurred around 1996, which matched the timing of abrupt changes in atmospheric thickness over Iran. Interestingly, seasonal trend analyses of minimum temperature over the Northern Hemisphere using Era5 reanalysis data indicated consistent regional patterns of warming over the last 4 decades. The results suggest that the increase in LFFS is largely driven by regional-scale warming as opposed to local urbanization and/or land-use changes. Our results document an important and ongoing change of potentially considerable interest to agriculturalists in Iran and elsewhere.


KEY WORDS: Frost-free season · Trend analysis · Atmospheric thickness · Iran


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Cite this article as: Kiany MSK, Masoodian SA, Balling Jr RC (2021) Climatology and variability of the start, end, and length of the frost-free season across Iran. Clim Res 84:59-73. https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01659

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