Date of Award

January 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Geography & Geographic Information Science

First Advisor

Christopher Atkinson


Global ocean and land temperature is rising. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2014 report indicated the global average combination of land and ocean surface temperature increase 33.53° F (0.85°C) over the last 1400 years in the Northern Hemisphere (IPCC 2014). Global temperature and precipitation patterns are changing; it affects North Dakota wheat production. This crop remains crucial to the state’s economy even with the rise of corn and soybean production. Temperature and precipitation change’s effect in North Dakota already has been observed with shorter and milder winters. The study area is the state’s nine agricultural districts determined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The climate data was collected from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and agriculture data for spring wheat was obtained from the National Agricultural Statistics Services (NASS). The research investigated if temperature and precipitation variability influence spring wheat yield in the period of 1986-1990 compared to period of 1991-1995. It was hypothesized that an increase in temperature will decrease spring wheat yield and that an increase in precipitation will increase spring wheat yield. The results show that warmer temperatures and drought conditions are detrimental to spring wheat production in comparison to precipitation. Increases of precipitation would not necessarily provide increases in spring wheat yield. The overall North Dakota’s spring wheat yield is governed by inter-annual variability in temperature and precipitation. Thus, this study has importance in better understanding North Dakota’s future spring wheat production in a time of global climate change.