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CR 36:53-63 (2008)  -  DOI:

Drought stress patterns in Italy using agro-climatic indicators

Nazzareno Diodato1, Gianni Bellocchi2,*

1Monte Pino Met Research Observatory, GTOS/TEMS Network—Terrestrial Ecosystem Monitoring Sites, Contrada Monte Pino, 82100 Benevento, Italy
2Agrichiana Farming, Montepulciano, Via di Sciarti n. 33/A, 53040 Siena, Italy
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: This paper examines the drought patterns in Italy for the period from 1961 to 2006. The condition of drought was considered from an agricultural perspective, using the variability in the annual yield of maize as an indication of climate patterns. A procedure is presented where weather datasets, a drought stress index (MCDI: Mediterranean crop drought index) and geo-spatial analysis are used to assess the spatial distribution and the general evolution of drought. The regional perspective presented characterizes the general climatology of Italy and compares the climate to a severe drought that occurred in 2003. This study identifies some areas (such as major islands, the central Tyrrhenian coast and south-eastern zones) where agricultural drought is likely to be a problem. In general, the temporal patterns outlined in this study indicate an increase in drought over Italy. Considering the poor resolution of global output results for regional and sub-regional assessments, the analysis carried out provides background data and a methodology for climatologists, ecologists and others interested in developing bio-climate patterns within large geographical regions.

KEY WORDS: Climate change · Drought · Italy · Mediterranean crop drought index pattern · Geo-spatial analysis · Temporal analysis

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Cite this article as: Diodato N, Bellocchi G (2008) Drought stress patterns in Italy using agro-climatic indicators. Clim Res 36:53-63.

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