Phenoclimatology: development and applications in North America

Mark D. Schwartz, Theresa M. Crimmins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a brief overview and history of “phenoclimatology”, a subdiscipline of climatology, emphasizing atmosphere-biosphere interactions. Here, we describe the establishment and recent growth in models and forecasts created using in situ phenology observations and the factors enabling these advancements, with focus on North America. Most notably, large-scale phenological models paved the way for development of synthetic indices. Such indices can supply an assessment of a location’s general phenological response over a standard period, context for comparing regional or local-scale studies, the ability to analyze changes in damage risks for plants, and reconstruction of the timing of events in years past across many regions. As such, synthetic phenological indices have seen wide adoption in estimating spring-season evolution in real time, anticipating short-term impacts of an early or late start to spring, and in assessing changes in the timing of seasonal transitions associated with climate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical Geography
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Phenoclimatology
  • climate change
  • indices
  • models
  • phenology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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