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Aug. 2, 2006
Contact: Brandis Griffith, University Relations, (785) 864-8855.

Satellite imaging shows impact of heat on Kansas crops

July 25, 2006

July 25, 2006

July 22, 2002

July 22, 2002

LAWRENCE — As another week of temperatures hovering above 100 degrees moves into its second half, satellite maps recording the amount of greenness and condition of vegetation in the United States show approximately half of Kansas under significant stress.

John Lomas, research analyst at the Kansas Applied Remote Sensing Program at the University of Kansas, uses those images to compile the GreenReport, a series of five maps produced weekly to show vegetation condition and change.

The vegetation condition map uses the greenness data and temperature data to monitor the condition of the vegetation, Lomas said. “The theory is the higher the temps, the more stress that is put on the crops.”

The vegetation condition map for Kansas shows 50 percent to 60 percent of the state in green, meaning the vegetation there is in somewhat good condition. The rest of the map is yellow, orange and red — showing increasing stress levels.

Despite this summer’s high temperatures and lack of moisture, Lomas said the state saw some of its most extreme stress levels in 2002, when the maps were mostly red.

“Right now, the state overall is not that bad. There are several areas where vegetation is under stress,” he said. “Overall it’s kind of average. Maybe in a month of hot and dry weather, vegetation conditions will worsen.”

Lomas said this week’s highs of more than 100 degrees will likely show in this month’s maps, updated every Wednesday, with more of the state colored in red.

According to the map, Hodgeman, Harper and Wabaunsee counties are already showing some of the more severe levels in the state.

The maps could be useful in helping farmers understand how the rest of the state is faring and to compare difficult weather now to previous years, Lomas said.

“A farmer can look at the GreenReport and see how the rest of the state or country is doing, and it might help him if he has to decide when to move a crop or to sell it or hold,” he said.

The national GreenReport and the state of Kansas GreenReport can be found at www.kars.ku.edu.

The Kansas Applied Remote Sensing Program is a part of the Kansas Biological Survey on KU’s west campus.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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