International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 57, Issue 3, pp 409–421 | Cite as

Evaluation of recent trends in Australian pome fruit spring phenology

  • Rebecca DarbyshireEmail author
  • Leanne Webb
  • Ian Goodwin
  • E. W. R. Barlow
Original Paper


Temporal and temperature driven analyses were conducted for eight spring phenology datasets from three Australian pome fruit growing regions ranging from 24 to 43 years in length. This, the first such analysis for Australia, indicated significant temporal change in phenophase timing for only one of the datasets. To determine relationships to temperature, a sequential chill and growth method as well as mean springtime temperatures were used to estimate phenophase timing. Expected advancement of phenophase ranged from 4.1 to 7.7 days per degree Celsius increase in temperature. The sequential chill and growth approach proved superior, with coefficients of determination between 0.49 and 0.85, indicating the inclusion of chill conditions are important for spring phenology modelling. Compared to similar phenological research in the Northern Hemisphere, the changes in response variables were often shallower in Australia, although significance of observed hemispheric differences were not found.


Apple Pear Climate change Growing degree day Chill Sequential model Green tip Full bloom 



The authors thank the Australian Bureau of Meteorology for providing the climate data, Chris Turnbull and Kevin Sanders for granting access to their records and experience, Louise Chvyl and Michael Rettke from SARDI for providing data and advice and, finally Ian Smith from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology for providing valuable methodology guidance.


  1. Akaike H (1974) A new look at statistical-model identification. IEEE T Automat Contr. doi: 10.1109/tac.1974.1100705
  2. Alburquerque N, García-Montiel F, Carrillo A, Burgos L (2008) Chilling and heat requirements of sweet cherry cultivars and the relationship between altitude and the probability of satisfying the chill requirements. Environ Exp Bot 64(2):162–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson JL, Richardson EA, Kesner CD (1986) Validation of chill unit and flower bud phenology models for ‘Montmorency’ sour cherry. Acta Hortic 184:71–78Google Scholar
  4. Atkins TA, Morgan ER (1990) Modelling the effection of possible climate change scenarios on the phenology of New-Zealand crops. Acta Hortic 276:201–208Google Scholar
  5. Austin P, Hall A (2001) Temperature Impacts on Development of Apple Fruits. In: Warrick R, Kenny G, Harman J (eds) The Effects of Climate Change and Variation in New Zealand. An Assessment Using the CLIMPACTS System. International Global Change Institute. The University of Waikato, Hamilton, pp 47–56Google Scholar
  6. Azarenko AN, Chozinski A, Brewer LJ (2008) Fruit growth curve analysis of seven sweet cherry cultivars. Acta Hortic 795:561–566Google Scholar
  7. Blanke M, Kunz A (2009) Effect of climate change on pome fruit phenology at Klein-Altendorf-based on 50 years of meteorological and phenological records. Erwerbs-Obstbau 51(3):101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Campoy JA, Ruiz D, Egea J (2011a) Dormancy in temperate fruit trees in a global warming context: A review. Sci Hortic-Amsterdam 130(2):357–372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Campoy JA, Ruiz D, Cook N, Allderman L, Egea J (2011b) Clinal variation of dormancy progression in apricot. S Afr J Bot 77(3):618–630CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cesaraccio C, Spano D, Snyder RL, Duce P (2004) Chilling and forcing model to predict bud-burst of crop and forest species. Agr Forest Meteorol 126(1–2):1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chambers LE, Keatley MR (2010a) Australian bird phenology: a search for climate signals. Austral Ecol 35(8):969–979CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chambers LE, Keatley MR (2010b) Phenology and climate—early Australian botanical records. Aust J Bot 58(6):473–484CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chmielewski FM, Muller A, Bruns E (2004) Climate changes and trends in phenology of fruit trees and field crops in Germany, 1961–2000. Agr Forest meteorol 121(1–2):69–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. CSIRO (2007) Climate Change in Australia - Technical Report 2007. MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  15. Darbyshire R, Webb L, Goodwin I, Barlow S (2011) Winter chilling trends for deciduous fruit trees in Australia. Agr Forest meteorol 151:1074–1085CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. De Melo-Abreu JP, Barranco D, Cordeiro AM, Tous J, Rogado BM, Villalobos FJ (2004) Modelling olive flowering date using chilling for dormancy release and thermal time. Agr Forest meteorol 125:117–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Doi H (2007) Winter flowering phenology of Japanese apricot Prunus mume reflects climate change across Japan. Clim Res 34:99–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Erez A, Fishman S, Linsley-Noakes GC, Allan P (1990) The dynamic model for rest completion in peach buds. Acta Hortic 279:165–174Google Scholar
  19. Farajzadeh M, Rahimi M, Kamali GA, Mavrommatis T (2010) Modelling apple tree bud burst time and frost risk in Iran. Meteorol Appl 17(1):45–52Google Scholar
  20. Fishman S, Erez A, Couvillon GA (1987) The temperature-dependence of dormancy breaking in plants. Computer-simulation of processes studied under controlled temperatures. J Theor Biol 126(3):309–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fuchigami L, Nee C (1987) Degree growth stage model and rest-breaking mechanisms in temperature woody perennial. HortSci 22(5):836–845Google Scholar
  22. Fujisawa M, Kobayashi K (2010) Apple (Malus pumila var. domestica) phenology is advancing due to rising air temperature in northern Japan. Glob Change Biol 16(10):2651–2660CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gallagher RV, Hughes L, Leishman MR (2009) Phenological trends among Australian alpine species: using herbarium records to identify climate-change indicators. Aust J Bot 57(1):1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gilreath PR, Buchanan DW (1981) Rest prediction model for low-chilling Sungold nectarine. J Am Soc Hortic Sci 106(4):426–429Google Scholar
  25. Gordo O, Sanz JJ (2005) Phenology and climate change: a long-term study in a Mediterranean locality. Oecologia 146(3):484–495CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gordo O, Sanz JJ (2009) Long-term temporal changes of plant phenology in the Western Mediterranean. Glob Change Biol 15(8):1930–1948. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.01851.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Grab S, Craparo A (2011) Advance of apple and pear tree full bloom dates in response to climate change in the southwestern Cape, South Africa: 1973–2009. Agr Forest Meteorol 151(3):406–413CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Guedon Y, Legave J (2008) Analyzing the time-course variation of apple and pear tree dates of flowering stages in the global warming context. Ecol Model 219:189–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Guitton B, Kelner JJ, Velasco R, Gardiner SE, Chagné D, Costes E (2012) Genetic control of biennial bearing in apple. J Exp Bot 63(1):131–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Horvath D (2009) Common mechanisms regulate flowering and dormancy. Plant Sci 177(6):523–531CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hunter A, Lechowicz M (1992) Predicting the timing of budburst in temperature trees. J Appl Ecol 29:297–604CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. IPCC (2007) Climate Change 2007: The physical science basis—contribution of working group I to the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  33. Jones D, Wang W, Fawcett R (2009) High-quality spatial climate data-sets for Australia. Aust Meteorol Oceanogr J 58:233–248Google Scholar
  34. Kearney MR, Briscoe NJ, Karoly DJ, Porter WP, Norgate M, Sunnucks P (2010) Early emergence in a butterfly causally linked to anthropogenic warming. Biol Lett 6(5):674–677CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Legave J, Farrera I, Almeras T, Calleja M (2008) Selecting models of apple flowering time and understanding how global warming has had an impact on this trait. J Hortic Sci Biotech 83(1):76–84Google Scholar
  36. Linsley-Noakes GC, Allen P (1994) Comparison of two models for the prediction of rest completion in peaches. Sci Hortic-Amsterdam 59:107–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Linvill DE (1990) Calculating chilling hours and chill units from daily maximum and minimum temperature observations. HortSci 25(1):14–16Google Scholar
  38. Lopez G, Dejong TM (2007) Spring temperatures have a major effect on early stages of peach fruit growth. J Hortic Sci Biotech 82(4):507–512Google Scholar
  39. Luedeling E, Brown P (2010) A global analysis of the comparability of winter chill models for fruit and nut trees. Int J Biometeorol 55(3):411–421. doi: 10.1007/s00484-010-0352-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Luedeling E, Zhang M, McGranahan G, Leslie C (2009) Validation of winter chill models using historic records of walnut phenology. Agr Forest Meteorol 149:1854–1864CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ministry for the Environment (2008) Climate Change Effects and Impacts Assessment: A Guidance Manual for Local Government in New Zealand. 2nd Edition. Mullan B, Wratt D, Dean S, Hollis M, Allan S, Williams T, Kenny G and MfE. Ministry for the Environment, Wellington: 169 ppGoogle Scholar
  42. Okie WR, Blackburn B (2011) Increasing chilling reduces heat requirement for floral budbreak in peach. HortSci 46(2):245–252Google Scholar
  43. Perez FJ, Ormeno JN, Reynaert B, Rubio S (2008) Use of the dynamic model for the assessment of winter chilling in a temperature and a subtropical climatic zone of Chile. Chil J Arg Res 68:198–206Google Scholar
  44. Petrie PR, Sadras VO (2008) Advancement of grapevine maturity in Australia between 1993 and 2006: putative causes, magnitude of trends and viticultural consequences. Aust J Grape Wine R 14(1):33–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rea R, Eccel E (2006) Phenological models for blooming of apple in a mountainous region. Int J Biometeorol 51(1):1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Reaumur RAF (1735) Observations du thermometre, faites a Paris pendant l’annee 1735, compares avec celles qui ont ete faites sous la ligne, a l’Isle de France, a Alger et en quelqes-unes de nos isles de l’Amerique. Mémoires de l’Académie des Sciences, pp 545–576Google Scholar
  47. Richardson EA, Seeley SD, Walker DR (1974) A model for estimating the completion of rest for Redhaven and Elberta peach trees. HortSci 9(4):331–332Google Scholar
  48. Roltsch WJ, Zalom FG, Strawn AJ, Strand JF, Pitcairn MJ (1999) Evaluation of several degree-day estimation methods in California climates. Int J Biometeorol 42(4):169–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Rosenzweig C, Karoly D, Vicarelli M, Neofotis P, Wu QG, Casassa G, Menzel A, Root TL, Estrella N, Seguin B, Tryjanowski P, Liu CZ, Rawlins S, Imeson A (2008) Attributing physical and biological impacts to anthropogenic climate change. Nature. doi: 10.1038/nature06937
  50. Ruiz D, Campoy J, Egea J (2007) Chilling and heat requirements of apricot cultivars for flowering. Environ Exp Bot 61:254–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Sadras VO, Petrie PR (2011) Climate shifts in south-eastern Australia: early maturity of Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon is associated with early onset rather than faster ripening. Aust J Grape Wine R 17(2):199–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Schwartz M (2003) Phenology: An integrative environmental science. Kluwer Academic Publishers, NetherlandsCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Schwartz MD, Hanes JM (2010) Continental-scale phenology: warming and chilling. Int J Climatol 30:1959–1598Google Scholar
  54. Shaltout AD, Unrath CR (1983) Rest completion prediction model for Starkrimson Delicious apples. J Am Soc Hortic Sci 108(6):957–961Google Scholar
  55. Sparks TH, Menzel A (2002) Observed changes in seasons: an overview. Int J Climatol 22(14):1715–1725CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sparks TH, Jeffree EP, Jeffree CE (2000) An examination of the relationship between flowering times and temperature at the national scale using long-term phenological records from the UK. Int J Biometeorol 44(2):82–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Stanley CJ, Tustin DS, Lupton GB, McArtney S, Cashmore WM, De Silva HN (2000) Towards understanding the role of temperature in apple fruit growth responses in three geographical regions within New Zealand. J Hortic Sci Biotech 75(4):413–422Google Scholar
  58. Tromp J (1976) Flower-bud formation and shoot growth in apple as affected by temperature. Sci Hortic-Amsterdam 5:331–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Valentini N, Me G, Ferrero R, Spanna F (2001) Use of bioclimatic indexes to characterize phenological phases of apple varieties in Northern Italy. Int J Biometeorol 45(4):191–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Viti R, Andreini L, Ruiz D, Egea J, Bartolini S, Iacona C, Campoy JA (2010) Effect of climatic conditions on the overcoming of dormancy in apricot flower buds in two Mediterranean areas: Murcia (Spain) and Tuscany (Italy). Sci Hortic-Amsterdam 124(2):217–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Webb LB, Whetton PH, Barlow EWR (2011) Observed trends in winegrape maturity in Australia. Glob Change Biol 17:2707–2719CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Webb LB, Whetton PH, Bhend J, Darbyshire R, Briggs PR, Barlow EWR (2012) Earlier wine grape ripening driven by climate warming and declines in soil water content. Nature Climate Change 2:259–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Weinberger JH (1950) Chilling requirements of peach varieties. P Am Soc Hortic Sci 56:122–128Google Scholar
  64. Wielgolaski FE (2001) Phenological modifications in plants by various edaphic factors. Int J Biometeorol 45(4):196–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wolfe DW, Schwartz MD, Lakso AN, Otsuki Y, Pool RM, Shaulis NJ (2005) Climate change and shifts in spring phenology of three horticultural woody perennials in northeastern USA. Int J Biometeorol 49(5):303–309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Yuri JA, Moggia C, Torres CA, Sepulveda A, Lepe V, Vasquez JL (2011) Performance of Apple (Malus xdomestica Borkh.) Cultivars Grown in Different Chilean Regions on a Six-year Trial, Part I: Vegetative Growth, Yield, and Phenology. HortSci 46(3):365–370Google Scholar

Copyright information

© ISB 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca Darbyshire
    • 1
    Email author
  • Leanne Webb
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ian Goodwin
    • 3
  • E. W. R. Barlow
    • 1
  1. 1.Melbourne School of Land and EnvironmentUniversity of MelbourneVictoriaAustralia
  2. 2.CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric ResearchVictoriaAustralia
  3. 3.Victorian Department of Primary IndustriesTaturaAustralia

Personalised recommendations