The Journal of Agricultural Science

Climate Change and Agriculture Research Papers

Regional climate change impacts on agricultural crop production in Central and Eastern Europe – hotspots, regional differences and common trends

J. EITZINGERa1a2 c1, M. TRNKAa2a3, D. SEMERÁDOVÁa2, S. THALERa1, E. SVOBODOVÁa2a3, P. HLAVINKAa3, B. ŠIŠKAa4, J. TAKÁČa5, L. MALATINSKÁa4, M. NOVÁKOVÁa5, M. DUBROVSKÝa2a6 and Z. ŽALUDa2a3

a1 Institute of Meteorology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria

a2 CzechGlobe – Global Change Research Centre AS CR, v.v.i., 986/4a, 603 00 Brno, Czech Republic

a3 Institute of Agrosystems and Bioclimatology, Mendel University Brno, Czech Republic

a4 Department of Ecology, Slovak University of Agriculture, Nitra, Slovakia

a5 Soil Science and Conservation Research Institute, Bratislava, Slovakia

a6 Institute of Atmospheric Physics Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic

SUMMARY

The present study investigates regional climate change impacts on agricultural crop production in Central and Eastern Europe, including local case studies with different focuses in Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The area studied experiences a continental European climate and is characterized by strong climatic gradients, which may foster regional differences or trends in the impacts of climate change on agriculture. To study the regional aspects and variabilities of climate change impacts on agriculture, the effect of climate change on selected future agroclimatic conditions, crop yield and variability (including the effect of higher ambient CO2 concentrations) and the most important yield limiting factors, such as water availability, nitrogen balance and the infestation risks posed by selected pests were studied. In general, the results predicted significant agroclimatic changes over the entire area during the 21st century, affecting agricultural crop production through various pathways. Simulated crop yield trends confirmed past regional studies but also revealed that yield-limiting factors may change from region to region. For example, pest pressures, as demonstrated by examining two pests, are likely to increase due to warmer conditions. In general, higher potentials for cereal yield increase are seen for wetter and cooler regions (i.e. uplands) than for the drier and warmer lowlands, where yield potentials will be increasingly limited by decreasing crop water availability and heat under most scenarios. In addition, yield variability will increase during the coming decades, but this may decrease towards the end of the 21st century. The present study contributes to the interpretation of previously conducted climate change impact and adaptation studies for agriculture and may prove useful in proposing future research in this field.

(Received March 07 2012)

(Revised June 28 2012)

(Accepted August 02 2012)

(Online publication October 09 2012)

Correspondence

c1 To whom all correspondence should be addressed. Email: josef.eitzinger@boku.ac.at

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