Climatic Change

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 95–110

The effect of climatic variations on agricultural risk

  • M. L. Parry
  • T. R. Carter
Article

Abstract

The thesis of this paper is that impacts from climatic change can be evaluated effectively as changes in the frequency of short-term, anomalous climatic events. These can then be expressed as changes in the level of risk of impact from climatic extremes. To evaluate this approach, the risk of crop failure resulting from low levels of accumulated temperature is assessed for oats farming in southern Scotland. Annual accumulated temperatures are calculated for the 323-year-long temperature record compiled by Manley for Central England. These are bridged across to southern Scotland and, by calculating mean levels of risk for different elevations, an average ‘risk surface’ is constructed. One-in-10 and 1-in-50 frequencies of crop failure are assumed to delineate a high-risk zone, which is mapped for the 323-year period by constructing isopleths of these risk levels. By redrawing the risk isopleths for warm and cool 50-year periods, the geographical shift of the high-risk zone is delineated. The conclusion is that relatively recent and apparently minor climatic variations in the United Kingdom have in fact induced substantial spatial changes in levels of agricultural risk. An advantage of expressing climatic change as a change in agricultural risk is that support programs for agriculture can be retuned to accommodate acceptable frequencies of impact by adjusting support levels to match new risk levels.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Carter, T.R. and Parry, M.L.: 1984, ‘Strategies for Assessing Impacts of Climatic Change in Marginal Areas’, in N.-A. Mörner and W. Karlén (eds.), Climatic Changes on a Yearly to Millennial Basis, D. Reidel, Dordrecht, Netherlands, pp. 401–412.Google Scholar
  2. Edwards, C.: 1978, ‘Gambling, Insuring and the Production Function’, Agric. Econ. Res. 30, 25–28.Google Scholar
  3. Jutikkala, E.: 1955, ‘The Great Finnish Famine in 1696–7’, Scand, Econ. Hist. Rev. 3, 48–63.Google Scholar
  4. Manley, G.: 1945, ‘The Effective Rate of Altitudinal Change in Temperate Atlantic Climates’, Geogrl. Rev. 35, 408–417.Google Scholar
  5. Manley, G.: 1951, ‘The Range of Variation of the British Climate’, Geogrl. J. 117, 43–68.Google Scholar
  6. Manley, G.: 1953, ‘The Mean Temperature of Central England, 1698–1952’, Quart. J. R. Met. Soc. 79, 242–261.Google Scholar
  7. Manley, G.: 1974, ‘Central England Temperatures: Monthly Means 1659 to 1973’, Quart. J. R. Met. Soc. 100, 389–405.Google Scholar
  8. Newman, J.E.: 1980, ‘Climate Change Impacts on the Growing Season of the North American Corn Belt’, Biometeorology 7, 128–142, Supplement to Int. J. Biometeor. 24.Google Scholar
  9. Nuttonson, M.Y.: 1955, Wheat-Climate Relationships and the Use of Phenology in Ascertaining the Thermal and Photo-Thermal Requirements of Wheat, American Institute of Crop Ecology, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  10. Parry, M.L.: 1975, ‘Secular Climatic Change and Marginal Agriculture’, Trans. Inst. Br. Geogr. 64, 1–18.Google Scholar
  11. Parry, M.L.: 1976, ‘The Significance of the Variability of Summer Warmth in Upland Britain’, Weather 31, 212–217.Google Scholar
  12. Parry, M.L.: 1978, Climatic Change, Agriculture and Settlement, Dawson, Folkestone, U.K.Google Scholar
  13. Pearson, M.G.: 1973, ‘Snowstorms in Scotland, 1782–86’, Weather 28, 195–201.Google Scholar
  14. Perry, P.J.: 1974, British Farming in the Great Depression: An Historical Geography, 1870–1914, David and Charles, Newton Abbott, U.K.Google Scholar
  15. Royal Commission: 1883, Royal Commission on the Depressed Conditions of Agricultural Interests (the Richmond Commission), Cmnd. 2778.Google Scholar
  16. The Satistical Account of Scotland: 1791–99, Sir John Sinclair (ed.), Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  17. Williams, G.D.V. and Oakes, W.T.: 1978, ‘Climatic Resources for Maturing Barley and Wheat in Canada’, in K.D. Hage and E.R. Reinelt (eds.), Essays on Meteorology and Climatology: In Honour of Richmond W. Longley, Studies in Geography Monograph 3, Department of Geography, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, pp. 367–385.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. L. Parry
    • 1
  • T. R. Carter
    • 1
  1. 1.International Institute for Applied Systems AnalysisLaxenburgAustria

Personalised recommendations