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Vulnerability of horticultural crop production to\ud extreme weather events

By Rosemary Collier, J. R. (Jane R.) Fellows, S. R. (Steven R.) Adams, Mikhail Semenov and Brian Thomas


The potential impact of future extreme weather events on horticultural crops was evaluated. A review was carried out of the sensitivities of a representative set of crops\ud to environmental challenges. It confirmed that a range of environmental factors are capable of causing a significant impact on production, either as yield or quality loss.\ud The most important of these were un-seasonal temperature, water shortage or excess,and storms. Future scenarios were produced by the LARS-WG1, a stochastic weather generator linked with UKCIP02 projections of future climate. For the analyses, 150 years of synthetic weather data were generated for baseline, 2020HI and 2050HI scenarios at defined locations. The output from the weather generator was used in case studies, either to estimate the frequency of a defined set of circumstances known to have impact on cropping, or as inputs to models of crop scheduling or pest phenology or survival. The analyses indicated that episodes of summer drought severe enough to interrupt the continuity of supply of salads and other vegetables will increase while the frequency of autumns with sufficient rainfall to restrict potato lifting will decrease. They also indicated that the scheduling of winter cauliflowers for continuity of supply will require the deployment of varieties with different temperature sensitivities from those in use currently. In the pest insect studies, the number of batches of Agrotis segetum (cutworm) larvae surviving to third instar increased with time, as did the potential number of generations of Plutella xylostella (diamond-back moth) in the growing season, across a range of locations. The study demonstrated the utility of high resolution scenarios in predicting the likelihood of specific weather patterns and their potential effect on horticultural production. Several limitations of the current scenarios and biological models were also identified

Topics: SB, QC
Publisher: Association of Applied Biologists
Year: 2008
OAI identifier:

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