The impact of Oklahoma's winter wheat belt on the mesoscale environment

Renee A. McPherson, David J. Stensrud, Kenneth C. Crawford

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63 Scopus citations


Oklahoma Mesonet data were used to measure the impact of Oklahoma's winter wheat belt on the mesoscale environment from 1994 to 2001. Statistical analyses of monthly means of near-surface air temperatures demonstrated that 1) a well-defined cool anomaly existed across the wheat belt during November, December, January, February, and April, and 2) a well-defined warm anomaly existed across the wheat belt during June, July, and August. Data from crop year 2000 indicated a slight moist anomaly over the growing wheat from November 1999 through April 2000. In addition, based upon 21 000 daily statistics over eight unique years, statistical computations indicated less than a 0.1% chance that the moist anomaly during March resulted from random chance. During the period from 1999 to 2001, about 50 days between 15 March and 1 May showed evidence of heightened values of daily maximum dewpoint over Oklahoma's winter wheat belt as compared to adjacent grasslands. On more than half of these days, the dewpoint was enhanced only across five or six counties in north-central Oklahoma, where the winter wheat production was the largest. Another 90 days between 1 June and 31 July revealed a distinct warm anomaly in daily maximum air temperatures over the wheat belt, particularly across north-central Oklahoma. These analyses demonstrate that Oklahoma's winter wheat belt has a dramatic impact on the near-surface, mesoscale environment during its growth and after its harvest. Consequently, it is imperative that mesoscale forecasts, whether produced objectively or subjectively, account for the vegetation-air interactions that occur across western Oklahoma and, presumably, across other crop regions in the United States and around the globe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-421
Number of pages17
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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