46011local-1 - An Ecological View of the Local Area...

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An Ecological View of the Local Area Ecological perspectives can be gained close at hand, and here are some characterizations of the area near NDSU: Geographic Location : The Fargo-Moorhead (FM) metropolitan area is situated at approx. 47 o N. latitude and 97 o W. longitude, roughly at the center of the North American continent and distant from large bodies of water, which moderate climatic conditions. Climate : This region offers an example of a continental climate, as suggested above, which contrasts with a coastal or maritime climate, where there is the moderating influence of a large nearby ocean or great lake, which serves as a source of water vapor and acts as a heat sink and source (varying with the season). Here, instead, we have variability, evidenced with the following: Temperature : The mean (average) annual temperature is approx. 41 o F., but typical annual variation is from -20 o to 95 o F., and over the time of weather measurements (beginning in the 1880s) the lowest temperatures have been below -40 o and the highest temperatures over 110 o F. Growing Season : This refers to the period between the last frost in the spring and the first frost in the autumn, which is a biologically important interval, e.g., crop production, growth and reproduction of various native species. The average length of growing season for the FM area is approx. 140 days, extending from near mid-May to mid- or late-September. Some years, this period is truncated by an unusually late spring frost or early autumn frost. Other years, it can extend for an extra two to four weeks. Photoperiod (Daylength) : This varies from about 15 hours and 53 minutes at the summer solstice on June 21 to 8 hours 38 minutes at the winter solstice on December 21 (54.3% of the daylength at the summer solstice). In between, day and night are of equal length at the vernal
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46011local-1 - An Ecological View of the Local Area...

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