CR 36:241-252 (2008)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/cr00737

Fluctuations of winter wheat yields in relation to length of winter in Sweden 1866 to 2006

Björn Holmer*

Physical Geography, Department of Earth Sciences, Göteborg University, Box 460, 40530 Göteborg, Sweden

ABSTRACT: The winter wheat Triticum aestivum L. areas in Sweden (55 to 61°N) are at, or close to, the northern border of winter wheat cultivation. Yield variations at the county level for 1866 to 2006 are analysed and compared with variations in length of winter. Yield deviations greater than ±25% occur on average once every 5 yr in a county, but more often in the north. In a maritime climate such as the one in north-western Europe, the length of winter fluctuates considerably. Deviations in length of winter by more than ±45 d appear on average once every 5 yr in a county, but more frequently in the southern coastal counties. However, freezing temperatures are also more intermittent there compared to the continuous cold in the north. By means of a cluster analysis of the variations in length of winter, the counties were divided into 4 groups. The general effect is that long winters give decreasing yields. Regressions between deviations in yield and length of winter show determination coefficients (R2) in the range of 0.13 to 0.30, which is high for a single variable. Winters are, on average, 48 d longer when yields are 25% below trend compared with yields 25% above trend. This pattern seems to be typical for climates with winter temperatures <5 to 6°C.


KEY WORDS: Length of winter · Winter wheat yield · High latitude · Climate fluctuations


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Cite this article as: Holmer B (2008) Fluctuations of winter wheat yields in relation to length of winter in Sweden 1866 to 2006. Clim Res 36:241-252. https://doi.org/10.3354/cr00737

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