A 200-year climate record in Central Europe: implications for agriculture
The close links of climate, soil conditions, and agricultural productivity have been used in Central Europe for taxation purposes since the eighteenth century. Since agroclimatic conditions are variable, their fluctuations in the past centuries can provide a valuable context for analyzing changes expected in the coming decades. Here, historical agroclimatic conditions and future projections were constructed for key agricultural regions in Central Europe. The agroclimatic zoning method used in this study incorporates (1) the sum of temperatures for days with a mean temperature above 10°C during the frost-free period, (2) the water deficit during the summer period from June to August, defined as the difference between precipitation and reference evapotranspiration, and (3) information regarding the suitability of soil and terrain for agriculture production based on twentieth century soil surveys. Changes in selected agroclimatological indices were also analyzed. To produce a weather series representing climate conditions between 1803 and 2008 over the study area, we used a stochastic weather generator trained on high-quality daily observations from 52 representative meteorological stations during the baseline period from 1961 to 1990. To estimate the extent of agroclimatic zones and the values of selected agroclimatic indices, the parameters of the weather generator were perturbed by the deviations of the temperature and precipitation means from the baseline using a long-term climate series from 1803 to 2008, from Brno. To generate a weather series representing the climate in 2050, we used an approach known as “pattern-scaling” in combination with outputs of three general circulation models. To our knowledge, this is the first study analyzing both continuous fluctuations in agroclimatic conditions over the past 200 years and expected shifts in the coming decades over Central Europe.
In the study region, our results demonstrate that changes in climate factors since the second half of the twentieth century have favored the expansion of warmer and drier agroclimatic conditions in the most fertile areas, progressively endangering the sustainability of rain-fed agriculture. Conversely, the agroclimatic conditions of regions at higher elevations have improved over the past six decades, as witnessed by increases in maize production areas but also an influx of previously absent pests, e.g., the European corn borer. The length of the vegetation summer has been increasing and shows daily average temperature exceeding 15°C. The mean number of days with snow cover has decreased by up to 30 days since a peak in the late nineteenth century. In lowland areas, the date of the last frost, with a 20-year return period, has moved closer to beginning of the season. Our results show that the predicted rate of change is unprecedented in available agroclimatic records; thus, adaptation cannot rely on past. Consequently, agricultural producers in the region will be forced to significantly bolster their adaptive capacity and develop flexible procedures that reflect the rapidly changing agroclimatic conditions.
KeywordsAgroclimatic zoning Climate reconstruction Climate variability Drought stress Growing season
- Allen GA, Walter IA, Elliot RL, Howell TA (2005) ASCE standardized reference evapotranspiration equation. American Society of Civil Engineers, RestonGoogle Scholar
- Auer I, Böhm R, Jurković A, Orlik A, Potzmann R, Schöner W, Ungersböck M, Brunetti M, Nanni T, Maugeri M, Briffa K, Jones P, Efthymiadis D, Mestre O, Moisselin J-M, Begert M, Brazdil R, Bochnicek O, Cegnar T, Gajić-Čapka M, Zaninović K, Majstorović Ž, Szalai S., Szentimrey T, Mercalli L (2005) A new instrumental precipitation dataset for the greater Alpine region for the period 1800–2002. Int J Climatol 25:139–166Google Scholar
- BMLFW – Bundesministerium für Land- und Forstwirtschaft, Umwelt und Wasserwirtschaft (2007) Digitaler Hydrologischer Atlas von Österreich. Österreichischer Kunst und Kulturverlag, WienGoogle Scholar
- Brázdil R, Řezníčková L, Valášek H (2006) Early instrumental meteorological observations in the Czech Lands I: Ferdinand Knittelmayer, Brno, 1799–1812. Meteorol Čas 9:59–71Google Scholar
- Brázdil R., Valášek H., Macková J. (2005) Meteorological observations in Brno in the first half of the 19th century. History of weather and hydrometeorological extremes (in Czech), Archiv města Brna, Brno.Google Scholar
- Červený A (1871) Equipment and auditing of agricultural estates (in Czech). Matice rolnická v Praze, PragueGoogle Scholar
- Dobrovolný P, Moberg A, Brázdil R, Pfister C, Glaser R, Wilson R, van Engelen A, Limanówka D, Kiss A, Halíčková M, Macková J, Riemann D, Luterbacher J, Böhm R (2010) Monthly and seasonal temperature reconstructions for Central Europe derived from documentary evidence and instrumental records since AD 1500. Clim Change 101:69–107. doi:10.1007/s10584-010-9866-x Google Scholar
- Dokládal J (1947) First assessment of dry areas in south Moravia (in Czech). Časové otázky zemědělské 74:37–46Google Scholar
- Dvořák V, Hladný J, Kašpárek L (1997) Climate change hydrology and water resources impact and adaptation for selected river basins in the Czech Republic. Clim Change 36:93–106. doi:10.1023/A:1005384120954
- Dubrovský M, Buchtele J, Žalud Z (2004) High-frequency and low-frequency variability in stochastic daily weather generator and its effect on agricultural and hydrologic modelling. Clim Change 63:145–179. doi:10.1023/B:CLIM.0000018504.99914.60.
- Farr TG, Rosen PA, Caro E, Crippen R, Duren R, Hensley S, Kobrick M, Paller M, Rodriguez E, Roth L, Seal D, Shaffer S, Shimada J, Umland J, Werner M, Oskin M, Burbank D, Alsdorf D (2007) The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission. Rev Geophys 45:RG2004. doi:10.1029/2007JD008451.
- Fotheringham SA, Brunsdon C, Charlton M (2002) Geographically Weighted Regression: the Analysis of Spatially Varying Relationships. Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
- Harlfinger O, Knees G (1999) Klimahandbuch der Österreichischen Bodenschätzung. Mitteilung der Österreichischen Bodenkundlichen Gesellschaft 58:196Google Scholar
- Hulme M, Wigley TML., Barrow EM, Raper SCB., Centella A, Smith S, Chipanshi AC (2000) Using a climate scenario generator for vulnerability and adaptation assessments: MAGICC and SCENGEN Version 2.4 Workbook. Climatic Research Unit, Norwich.Google Scholar
- Kalvová J, Kašpárek L, Janouš D, Žalud Z, Kazmarová H (2002) (Eds.) Climate change induced impacts on water regime, agriculture, forestry and human health in the Czech Republic (in Czech). National Climatic Program of the Czech Republic, no. 32, Praha.Google Scholar
- Kořistka K (1860) Die Markgrafschaft Mähren und das Herzogthum Schlesien. Wien, OlmützGoogle Scholar
- Murer E, Wagenhofer J, Aigner F, Pfeffer M (2004) Die nutzbare Feldkapazität der mineralischen Böden der landwirtschaftlichen Nutzfläche Österreichs. Schriftenreihe BAW 20:72–78Google Scholar
- Němec J (2001) Assessment and Evaluation of Farm Land in the Czech Republic (in Czech). Výzkumný ústav zemědělské ekonomiky, PragueGoogle Scholar
- Olesen J, Fronzek S, Heidmann T, Hickler T, Holt T, Minguez MI, Morales P, Palutikov J, Quemada M, Ruiz-Ramos M, Rubæk G, Sau F, Smith B, Sykes M (2007) Uncertainties in projected impacts of climate change on European agriculture and ecosystems based on scenarios from regional climate models. Clim Change 81:123–143. doi:10.1007/s10584-006-9214-3 Google Scholar
- Olesen JE, Trnka M, Kersebaum KC, Skejvåg AO, Seguin B, Peltonen-Sainio P, Rossi F, Kozyra J, Micale F (2011) Impacts and adaptation of European crop production systems to climate change. Eur J Agron 34(2):96–112. doi:10.1016/j.eja.2010.11.003
- Perarnaud V, Seguin B, Malezieux E, Deque M, Loustau D (2005) Agrometeorological research and applications needed to prepare agriculture and forestry to 21st century climate change. Clim Change 70:319–340. doi:10.1007/s10584-005-5953-9
- Petr J (ed) (1991) Weather and Yield. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
- Santer BD, Wigley TML, Schlesinger ME, Mitchell JFB (1990) Developing climate scenarios from equilibrium GCM results, Report No. 47. Max Planck Institut für Meteorologie, HamburgGoogle Scholar
- Tomášek M (2000) Soils of the Czech Republic (in Czech). Česká geologická služba, PragueGoogle Scholar
- Trnka M, Dubrovský M, Žalud Z (2004) Climate change impacts and adaptation strategies in spring barley production in the Czech Republic. Clim Change 64:227–255. doi:10.1023/B:CLIM.0000024675.39030.96.