Comparison of cropland and forest surface temperatures across the conterminous United States

  • Authors: Wickham, James D.; Wade, Timothy G.; Riitters, Kurt H.
  • Publication Year: 2012
  • Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
  • Source: Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 166–167:137–143

Abstract

Global climate models (GCM) investigating the effects of land cover on climate have found that replacing extra-tropical forest with cropland promotes cooling. We compared cropland and forest surface temperatures across the continental United States in 16 cells that were approximately 1◦ × 2◦ using 1 km2 MODIS land surface temperature (LST) data and land cover from the 0.0009 km2 National Land Cover Database (NLCD). We found that forest surface temperatures tended to be cooler than cropland surface temperatures. This relationship held for spring, summer, fall, and annually. In winter, cropland surface temperatures were cooler than forest surface temperatures except in the southeastern United States, where forest surface temperatures were also cooler in winter. The difference between cropland and forest surface temperatures was driven by daytime maxima, which tended to be twice as large as differences in nighttime minima. The dominance of daytime maxima was influenced by the degree of continentality. For cells on coastal margins or with a high proportion of inland lakes, differences between cropland and forest nighttime minima tended to be very small. In more continental locations croplands were noticeably cooler at night which often led to insignificant differences between cropland and forest average surface temperatures.

  • Citation: Wickham, James D.; Wade, Timothy G.; Riitters, Kurt H. 2012. Comparison of cropland and forest surface temperatures across the conterminous United States. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 166–167:137–143.
  • Keywords: Albedo, Climate change, DTR, Land cover, MODIS, NLCD
  • Posted Date: August 20, 2012
  • Modified Date: August 20, 2012
  • Print Publications Are No Longer Available

    In an ongoing effort to be fiscally responsible, the Southern Research Station (SRS) will no longer produce and distribute hard copies of our publications. Many SRS publications are available at cost via the Government Printing Office (GPO). Electronic versions of publications may be downloaded, printed, and distributed.

    Publication Notes

    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
    • Our online publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.