Extreme precipitation has the potential to destroy crops by causing flooding in fields or delaying when crops are planted. A delayed cropping sequence pushes crops further into the late summer dry season, increasing the risk of crop failure due to drought. At the same time, planting dates have advanced across much of the NGP as producers have responded to warmer springs, increasing the chances of exposure to late season freezes. Changes in land management including the timing of important events like planting and harvesting alter the timing at which water and heat enter the atmosphere. These changes that impact atmospheric boundary layer dynamics and convective precipitation may also be associated with changes in extremes such as hail, which is also a major but understudied concern to producers.
We characterize changes in extreme precipitation and temperature events in the NGP using Global Historical Climatology Network station data from the 1950s until the present. Using daily data, the top 5% of measured precipitation days are examined to find changing trends in the frequency and intensity of precipitation. For temperature extremes, the normal for the period is calculated then days outside two standard deviations of the normal are also investigated to find the changing trends in the frequency and intensity. Using the Storm Events Database from the National Centers for Environmental Information, hail trends are also examined over the region. The results from this study will enable producers and managers to make informed decisions regarding risk given the central role of extreme events to agricultural productivity.