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Title: Analyzing the Implications of Climate Data on Plant Hardiness Zones for Green Infrastructure Planning: Case Study of Knoxville, Tennessee and Surrounding Region

Downscaled climate data for Knoxville, Tennessee and the surrounding region were used to investigate future changing Plant Hardiness Zones due to climate change. The methodology used is the same as the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), well-known for their creation of the standard Plant Hardiness Zone map used by gardeners and planners. USDA data were calculated from observed daily data for 1976–2005. The modeled climate data for the past is daily data from 1980-2005 and the future data is projected for 2025–2050. The average of all the modeled annual extreme minimums for each time period of interest was calculated. Each 1 km raster cell was placed into zone categories based on temperature, using the same criteria and categories of the USDA. The individual models vary between suggesting little change to the Plant Hardiness Zones to suggesting Knoxville moves into the next two Hardiness Zones. But overall, the models suggest moving into the next warmer Zone. USDA currently has the Knoxville area categorized as Zone 7a. None of the Zones calculated from the climate data models placed Knoxville in Zone 7a for the similar time period. The models placed Knoxville in a cooler Hardiness Zone and projected the area to increasemore » to Zone 7. The modeled temperature data appears to be slightly cooler than the actual temperature data and this may explain the zone discrepancy. However, overall Knoxville is projected to increase to the next warmer Zone. As the modeled data has Knoxville, overall, moving from Zone 6 to Zone 7, it can be inferred that Knoxville, Tennessee may increase from their current Zone 7 to Zone 8.« less
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  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
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Technical Report
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Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
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United States