Climate Change – How is it Impacting Turf Managers?

A bit graph heavy this one!!!!

Climate change is certainly in the news at the moment but how is it manifesting itself onto turf managers?

I spend more time than is good for me studying weather patterns and if I’m honest it’s pretty tricky pulling out obvious changes. Mainly because we only have access to detailed weather data back to 1984 and it’s tough finding trends in a short data set of 35 years.

Whilst the distinct changes in weather patterns are tough to point out all the trends do show a slow increase in temperatures and from where I’m sitting it’s clear were on a slow march towards a warmer climate (this isn’t the platform to discuss the larger implications of that).

One of the few clear cut trends though is the overnight minimum temperatures we see throughout September and October.

Doncaster in September
Doncaster in October
Sandwich in September
Sandwich in October

The above graphs show a trend of reducing number of days that the minimum temperature drops below 5 degrees. These overnight temperatures have a significant impact on the growth potential of turf and disease pressure.

Doncaster in September
Doncaster in October
Sandwich in September
Sandwich In October

The above graphs show the average minimum temperature during the months of September and October. Once again a clear and worrying trend showing how overnight temperatures are not dipping to the temperatures they once did.

During this Autumn period of shorter day lengths and wetter / softer surfaces, the last thing Course managers want to hear is that we will be facing extended periods of grass growth and higher levels of disease pressure.

I do worry how things will look in another 30 years time – those of you at the beginning of your career will have a rather different set of challenges in the future to the ones we have now.

The good news is that these periods will offer greater opportunities to recover turf cover from what seem to be more extreme summers.

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