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Climate Research

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CR 12:175-183 (1999)  -  doi:10.3354/cr012175

Adaptation principles of agriculture to climate change

Peeter Karing, Ain Kallis*, Heino Tooming

Estonian Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Rävala 8, EE-10143 Tallinn, Estonia
*Addressee for correspondence. E-mail:

ABSTRACT: An analysis of climate change impacts on the level of agricultural production is presented based on long-term experimental data on yields of crops grown in different soils and climatic zones. Mathematical models combining available data on the biology of agricultural crops and their response to climatic conditions have been used. The principle of maximum plant productivity is the basis of this modelling effort. The potential and meteorologically possible yields under existing environmental conditions were calculated using the potato dynamic model POMOD. The analyses were completed under different climate change scenarios. According to the climate change scenarios HADCM2 and ECHAM3TR, mean potato yields will increase by about 6 to 8%. The yield increase is larger (10 to 16%) on coastal islands and in North Estonia. A new approach and classification of micro-climate geo-complexes was developed. Agricultural production was found to be highly sensitive to micro-climatic variations. The proposed approach permits more objective use of meteorological data in changing climatic conditions. Shifts in agroclimate were established using this modelling approach. The sums of degree-days, particularly above 0 and 5°C, have significantly risen during the period 1807-1995. The development of potato varieties adapted to a changing climate is possible. A strategy for adaptation of agriculture to climate change is presented.

KEY WORDS: Adaptation · Model yields · Micro-climate · Potato · Barley

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