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Future risk of frost on apple trees in Japan

Abstract

We investigated the spring frost risk over the main apple production areas in Japan under future climates using multiple sets of global circulation models and scenarios. Frost risk was judged by the daily minimum air temperature. Apple phenology was estimated with a phenology model under future meteorological conditions. Since spring cold hardiness of apple trees depends on the phenophase, we took the effect into consideration by decomposing the season into three phenophases. April temperatures are projected to increase by 0.5–2 °C for 2031–2050 and 1.5–6 °C for 2081–2100 relative to that of 1981–2000, depending on the climate models and scenarios. Spring phenology will advance by 10 days or more for the highest temperature increase case for 2081–2100. Frost risk will not monotonically change with the future temperature increase. For the scenario with the temperature increase by 1–2 °C in spring, corresponding to the medium temperature increase case among our simulation cases, frost risk will be maximized in the southern Tohoku region and central highlands, where frost risk is relatively high under the current climates. Frost risk will tend to decrease for the highest temperature increase case. During bud break to foliation, apple trees will be in highest frost risk under future climates.

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Acknowledgments

The major part of this study was supported by the Regional Adaptation Consortium Project (Hokkaido-Tohoku region), directed by the Ministry of the Environment, Japan. Japan NUS Co., Ltd. (JANUS) coordinates the project for the region. Validation data for the phenology model in Supplementary material were provided from fruit-related experimental laboratories of prefectures in the Hokkaido-Tohoku region, joining the Consortium Project. 1 km gridded climate change scenarios over Japan (NARO2017) by SI-CAT (Social Implementation Program on Climate Change Adaptation Technology), directed by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, were used for this study. National Land Numerical Information is downloaded from the website of National Spatial Planning and Regional Policy Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. We acknowledge three anonymous reviewers for their comments.

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Correspondence to Yoshimitsu Masaki.

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Masaki, Y. Future risk of frost on apple trees in Japan. Climatic Change 159, 407–422 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-019-02610-7

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Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Cold hardiness
  • Frost risk
  • Phenology