Climatic Change

, Volume 137, Issue 3, pp 541–556

A crop and cultivar-specific approach to assess future winter chill risk for fruit and nut trees


DOI: 10.1007/s10584-016-1692-3

Cite this article as:
Darbyshire, R., Measham, P. & Goodwin, I. Climatic Change (2016) 137: 541. doi:10.1007/s10584-016-1692-3


Anthropogenic climate change will influence winter chill accumulation, with future declines likely in temperate locations. However, these declines only translate as impacts when cultivar winter chilling requirements are not satisfied. This study presents a methodology to evaluate future impacts of declining winter chill through a cultivarspecific approach which is useful for growers, industry and policy-makers to develop adaptation strategies. A risk based system was applied to represent the likelihood of meeting cultivar chilling requirements using low, medium, medium-high and high risk ratings based on percentiles. This was combined with climate projection uncertainty graphically at 16 Australian growing districts historically (1981–2010) and for 2030, 2050 and 2090. The results demonstrated that impacts and likely adaptation options differed between cultivars, some recording limited risk at all sites out to 2090 ('Nonpareil' almond) whilst others recorded greater risk both historically and into the future ('Chandler' walnut). Notably, risk differed across sites and with the future time period. These results highlight which cultivars are susceptible to low winter chill conditions, where this risk does and does not manifest and the different time horizons at which the risk will materialise across Australia's main growing districts. Using this approach, changes in winter chill conditions are presented in a useable form which allows for appropriate climate adaptation strategies to be developed, securing the industries into the future.

Supplementary material

10584_2016_1692_Fig6_ESM.gif (108 kb)

Fig. 1 Projected chill conditions for 12 sites not included in Fig. 4. Black bars represent the historical range, blue and red bars represent best and worse-case scenarios for each project time period, respectively. Numbers across the range is the chill portion accumulation for the 10th and 90th percentiles. (GIF 108 kb)

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High Resolution Image (TIFF 35888 kb)
10584_2016_1692_Fig7_ESM.gif (102 kb)

(GIF 102 kb)

10584_2016_1692_MOESM2_ESM.tiff (35 mb)
High Resolution Image (TIFF 35888 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural SciencesUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Tasmanian Institute of AgricultureUniversity of TasmaniaTasmaniaAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and ResourcesVictorian GovernmentTaturaAustralia

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