Title page for ETD etd-05082006-113632

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Logan, Ben
Author's Email Address blogan@vt.edu
URN etd-05082006-113632
Title A Statistical Examination of the Climatic Human Expert System, The Sunset Garden Zones for California
Degree Master of Science
Department Geography
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Campbell, James B. Jr. Committee Chair
Boyer, John D. Committee Member
Buikema, Arthur L. Jr. Committee Member
Kennedy, Lisa M. Committee Member
  • Sunset Garden Zones
  • Climate
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • California
  • Cluster Analysis
Date of Defense 2006-04-25
Availability unrestricted
Twentieth Century climatology was dominated by two great figures: Wladamir Köppen and C. Warren Thornthwaite. The first carefully developed climatic parameters to match the larger world vegetation communities. The second developed complex formulas of "Moisture Factors" that provided efficient understanding of how evapotranspiration influences plant growth and health, both for native and non-native communities.

In the latter half of the Twentieth Century, the Sunset Magazine Corporation develop a purely empirical set of Garden Zones, first for California, then for the thirteen states of the West, now for the entire nation in the National Garden Maps. The Sunset Garden Zones are well recognized and respected in Western States for illustrating the several factors of climate that distinguish zones. But the Sunset Garden Zones have never before been digitized and examined statistically for validation of their demarcations.

This thesis examines the digitized zones with reference to PRISM climate data. Variable coverages resembling those described by Sunset are extracted from the PRISM data. These variable coverages are collected for two buffered areas, one in northern California and one in southern California. The coverages are exported from ArcGIS 9.1 to SAS® where they are processed first through a Principal Component Analysis, and then the first five principal components are entered into a Ward's Hierarchical Cluster Analysis. The resulting clusters were translated back into ArcGIS as a raster coverage, where the clusters were climatic regions. This process is quite amenable for further examination of other regions of California

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