Date of Award

5-2010

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Kathleen Baker

Second Advisor

Dr. Chansheng He

Third Advisor

Dr. Jeff Stein

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

EI Nino Southern Oscillation (ENS 0 ) is a coupled oscillation phenomenon that includes interaction between the atmosphere and the ocean in the Tropical Pacific and is known to be a central factor in climate variability worldwide. Climate conditions associated with ENSO could be a main source of disease outbreaks of crops. Fusarium head blight (FHB) is one of the most common crop diseases affecting wheat throughout the United States. This disease is most commonly caused by Fusarium graminearum and has become a huge concern for farmers over the past 20 years. The purpose of this research is to test ifENSO is driving disease variability and analyze variability in FHB risk. Archived hourly weather data from 1950-2009 for 20 weather stations were obtained from the National Climatic Data Center. Weather data was run through a FHB risk model calculating the potential risk for each day, either 0 for a non-risk day or 1 for a risk day. Results show that there were otwo stations that showed a relationship between ENSO phases and FHB risk, however, there was no correlation between FHB risk and SST anomalies. On the other hand, results did show that there has been year with risk occurring more frequently over the past 30 years for most of the study region .. Results also indicate that there is disease variability amongst stations in the study area.

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