Olive flowering trends in a large Mediterranean area (Italy and Spain)
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- Orlandi, F., Garcia-Mozo, H., Galán, C. et al. Int J Biometeorol (2010) 54: 151. doi:10.1007/s00484-009-0264-x
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The aim of this study was to investigate the main climatic and biological trends related to olive flowering in central-southern Italy compared to those in Andalusia, Spain. Results since 1982 were compared for the two long-series monitoring areas of Cordoba and Perugia, and since 1992–1999 for the short-series areas. The relationship between climatic trends and the biological response of the olive, a widespread culture in the Mediterranean basin, were investigated. An aerobiological method involving capturing pollen released into the atmosphere was utilised as a bioindicator of flowering phenology. The study results confirm the strong relationship between flowering periods and spring temperature trends for the olive. Temperature during March, April and May was the parameter most related to flowering date in the study areas, particularly in Italy. In some cases we found a significant correlation between flowering and past autumn temperatures, probably due to their effect on floral bud dormancy induction, but this phenomenon appeared to be of minor importance in the studied areas. The phenological trend results show the continuous advance of flowering dates to the late 1990s, followed by a relatively stationary time series related to a short-term temperature fluctuation in the Mediterranean area. This latter period probably represents a mesoscale event forced by a macroscale event—the North Atlantic Oscillation. The results reveal that the trend towards increased temperatures, and the consequent flowering advance of some species, indicated some years ago is nowadays not as clear as was expected and should be confirmed over the next few years in the Mediterranean areas under investigation.