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CR 67:221-240 (2016)  -  DOI:

Harmfulness of weather events and the adaptive capacity of farmers at high latitudes of Europe

Pirjo Peltonen-Sainio1,*, Ari Venäläinen2, Hanna M. Mäkelä2, Pentti Pirinen2, Mikko Laapas2, Lauri Jauhiainen1, Janne Kaseva1, Hannu Ojanen3, Panu Korhonen4, Erja Huusela-Veistola1, Marja Jalli1, Kaija Hakala1, Timo Kaukoranta1, Perttu Virkajärvi4

1Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Management and Production of Renewable Resources, 31600 Jokioinen, Finland
2Finnish Meteorological Institute, PL 503, 00560 Helsinki, Finland
3Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Green Technology, 31600 Jokioinen, Finland
4Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Green Technology, Halolantie 31 A, 71750 Maaninka, Finland
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The climate in high latitudes is characterized by large variability in the weather, leading to significant and diverse risks in agriculture. This study aimed to ascertain the most harmful weather events for different crops, and identify the potential for improving resilience of high-latitude agricultural systems to climate change and variability through diversified crop choices. Weather-related crop losses were characterized according to the relevant literature, and the knowledge gaps were reduced using analyses of original data. The study included the major field crops: spring and winter cereals, rapeseed and forage crops. Data from the Finnish Meteorological Institute were used to calculate the probabilities of occurrence of each of the weather constraints identified. By multiplying the crop loss by the probability of the constraint, the harmfulness of each single event was identified and ranked. Harmfulness was further coupled with the means available for a farmer to avoid or recover from climatic constraints, in order to assess adaptive capacity. For spring cereals, drought- and elevated temperature-related hindrances predominated as the most harmful events. For winter cereals and forage crops, overwintering damage caused by mild to cold shifts during wintertime was an example of insufficient adaptive capacity. For rapeseed, pest invasions, elevated temperatures and night frosts were among the most challenging events. Due to the sometimes striking differences between crops in their vulnerability to climatological constraints, future means for improving resilience to weather events and variability at high latitudes may be offered by more diverse crop choices.

KEY WORDS: Crop production · Drought · Frost · Overwintering · Precipitation · Temperature

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Cite this article as: Peltonen-Sainio P, Venäläinen A, Mäkelä HM, Pirinen P and others (2016) Harmfulness of weather events and the adaptive capacity of farmers at high latitudes of Europe. Clim Res 67:221-240.

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