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Significant Shift of Ambient Night-Time Air Temperature during Rice Growing Season in Major US Rice States

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Document pages: 18 pages

Abstract: Heat stress studies in rice (Oryza sativa sp.) under extreme weather scenarios generally use constant temperatures to influence the crop responses without relation to actual weather changes. These heat stress studies may have limited implications for future crop yields because elevated temperatures are not based on local temperature fluctuations. This study investigated the night-time air temperature pattern and assessed the status and reliability of available weather station data in four major rice growing states; Arkansas (AR), California (CA), Louisiana (LA) and Texas (TX) using four public weather station databases. Hourly and daily night-time air temperatures from 20:00 to 06:00 were obtained from 1940 to 2018 during the rice growing period. During the 67-year period, a significant increase of 1.12°C and 0.53°C in seasonal night air temperature occurred in CA and AR (P ≤ 0.001) while LA and TX showed minimal to no increase in night air temperature. Across all rice states and years, night air temperature fluctuations ranged between ±0.2°C and ±4°C with the greatest occurred in CA (2.9°C) and AR (4.5°C). Mean night-time air temperature across all states ranged from 22.6°C to 29.5°C with a rate of increase of 0.01°C to 0.02°C per year since 1941. Due to a relatively smaller spatial dataset (from 1941-2018), trend analyses for AR, TX and LA showed modest bias with root mean square errors (RMSE) of 0.5°C to 1.1°C of absolute mean temperature across all locations. Results in this study showed seasonal night-time air temperature change occurred in some major US rice producing states during the last 67-years. This study highlights the need for more weather stations near agricultural farms to reliably derive actual temperature patterns in the rice growing regions.

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