THE AGRICULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE OF SUNSHINE AS ILLUSTRATED IN CALIFORNIA

ANDREW H. PALMER Weather Bureau Office San Francisco, Calif

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Abstract

SYNOPSIS

Sunshine is important in plant growth because the heat and the light required by all growing plants are supplied by solar radiation. While heat can not entirely replace light in this process, light can in large measure replace heat. The quality and the quantity of the sun-light transmitted to growing plants are both dependent upon atmospheric conditions, as well as upon the season of the year. They vary from place to place and from month to month.

Of the various weather elements, sunshine, directly through radiation, and indirectly through its effect upon air temperatures, influences the distribution of crops. Because it furnishes the required energy for certain chemical activities within growing plants, as well as promotes evaporation from the foliage, abundant sunshine is required of most plants. Partly because of the power of water vapor in removing certain chemically active rays from the sunlight transmitted through the air, humid regions are best adapted for certain crops, and wholly unfitted for other crops.

California is a State of vast size, and shows extreme diversity of topography, soil and climatic conditions. Sunshine varies greatly in quality and in quantity in different parts of the State. Horticulture, the most important branch of California agriculture, is practiced to best advantage in those portions of the State where the amount of sunshine is at a maximum. For all stages of the fruit, from the blossoming of the trees to the sun-curing process of the fruit, abundant sunshine is beneficial.

The sun curing of fruit, which is both a physical and a chemical process, is an important industry in California. Unbroken sunshine and absence of summer rainfall make the interior valleys the deciduous and citrus fruit centers of the United States. The earliest oranges to ripen in the State are those northern grown, a fact partly due to the increased amount of sunshine received during the summer season.

The dehydration of vegetables, a new industry in California, is making rapid progress. The State is well adapted for this, as abundant sunshine favors the growth as well as the curing of vegetables. Beans grow to best advantage along a narrow belt of the coast, largely because diffused rather than direct sunlight is required. Moreover. the plants thrive under humid conditions and frequent fogs, from which they absorb some moisture. Flower and vegetable seeds, on the other hand, require an abundance of sunshine and dry air, and are therefore raised to best advantage in the sheltered valleys.

California merits the appellation, “The Sunshine State,” for the abundant sunshine forms the basis of agriculture, the State's principal industry. The agricultural crops of 1918 were valued at $645,000,000.

Abstract

SYNOPSIS

Sunshine is important in plant growth because the heat and the light required by all growing plants are supplied by solar radiation. While heat can not entirely replace light in this process, light can in large measure replace heat. The quality and the quantity of the sun-light transmitted to growing plants are both dependent upon atmospheric conditions, as well as upon the season of the year. They vary from place to place and from month to month.

Of the various weather elements, sunshine, directly through radiation, and indirectly through its effect upon air temperatures, influences the distribution of crops. Because it furnishes the required energy for certain chemical activities within growing plants, as well as promotes evaporation from the foliage, abundant sunshine is required of most plants. Partly because of the power of water vapor in removing certain chemically active rays from the sunlight transmitted through the air, humid regions are best adapted for certain crops, and wholly unfitted for other crops.

California is a State of vast size, and shows extreme diversity of topography, soil and climatic conditions. Sunshine varies greatly in quality and in quantity in different parts of the State. Horticulture, the most important branch of California agriculture, is practiced to best advantage in those portions of the State where the amount of sunshine is at a maximum. For all stages of the fruit, from the blossoming of the trees to the sun-curing process of the fruit, abundant sunshine is beneficial.

The sun curing of fruit, which is both a physical and a chemical process, is an important industry in California. Unbroken sunshine and absence of summer rainfall make the interior valleys the deciduous and citrus fruit centers of the United States. The earliest oranges to ripen in the State are those northern grown, a fact partly due to the increased amount of sunshine received during the summer season.

The dehydration of vegetables, a new industry in California, is making rapid progress. The State is well adapted for this, as abundant sunshine favors the growth as well as the curing of vegetables. Beans grow to best advantage along a narrow belt of the coast, largely because diffused rather than direct sunlight is required. Moreover. the plants thrive under humid conditions and frequent fogs, from which they absorb some moisture. Flower and vegetable seeds, on the other hand, require an abundance of sunshine and dry air, and are therefore raised to best advantage in the sheltered valleys.

California merits the appellation, “The Sunshine State,” for the abundant sunshine forms the basis of agriculture, the State's principal industry. The agricultural crops of 1918 were valued at $645,000,000.

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