How Do You Interpret a Frost Map?


Quick Answer

To interpret a frost map, look at the map's title to determine whether it shows the first or last frost. Find your location on the map, and identify the color that covers your location. Locate the corresponding color in the map key, and look at the date range to see when the frost happened in your area.

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Full Answer

Frost maps usually show the first or last frosts of the year to help farmers determine when to plant or harvest. Some maps feature solid color areas, with each color corresponding to a date range. On this type of map, all areas of the same color experience the first frost during the same time period. Be sure to check the length of the date range; some maps use 10-day ranges, while others cover periods of up to a month.

Some frost maps use a dot system rather than solid-colored areas. On these maps, a dot represents a reported occurrence of frost. The color of the dot represents the date range. Dot maps show general frost trends, but also communicate anomalies in the frost dates due to altitude and other geographical factors. Unlike solid-colored maps, which use linear boundaries, dot-style maps show the variation in frost dates on the borders of each region.

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