, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 184-188

Heat requirement for the onset of the Olea europaea L. pollen season in several sites in Andalusia and the effect of the expected future climate change

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Abstract

Olives are one of the largest crops in the Mediterranean region, especially in Andalusia, in southern Spain. A thermal model has been developed for forecasting the start of the olive tree pollen season at five localities in Andalusia: Cordoba, Priego, Jaen, Granada and Malaga using airborne pollen and meteorological data from 1982 to 2001. Threshold temperatures varied between 5°C and 12.5°C depending on bio-geographical characteristics. The external validity of the results was tested using the data for the year 2002 as an independent variable and it confirmed the model’s accuracy with only a few days difference from predicted values. All the localities had increasingly earlier start dates during the study period. This could confirm that olive flower phenology can be considered as a sensitive indicator of the effects of climate fluctuations in the Mediterranean area. The theoretical impact of the predicted climatic warming on the olive’s flowering phenology at the end of the century is also proposed by applying Regional Climate Model data. A general advance, from 1 to 3 weeks could be expected, although this advance will be more pronounced in mid-altitude inland areas.