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Agronomy Journal Abstract - MODELING

Assessment of Climate Change and Agriculture in Spain Using Climate Models


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 93 No. 1, p. 237-249
    Received: Oct 29, 1999

    * Corresponding author(s): iminguez@pvf.etsia.upm.es
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  1. Arantxa Guereña,
  2. Margarita Ruiz-Ramos,
  3. Carlos H. Díaz-Ambrona,
  4. José R. Conde and
  5. M.Inés Mínguez *
  1. Dep. de Producción Vegetal: Fitotecnia, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Agrónomos, Tech. Univ. of Madrid, Ciudad Univ. E-28040 Madrid, Spain


The outputs of a general circulation model (GCM) and a regional climate model (RCM) were used as inputs for crop models to predict the impact of climate change and CO2 concentration (2×CO2 scenario) on crops and their water use in Spain. Two basins representative of irrigated agriculture were chosen to compare the phenology, aboveground biomass, yield, evapotranspiration (ET), and irrigation requirements for winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), winter barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), and maize (Zea mays L.) under (i) a GCM-derived climate scenario and (ii) a RCM climate output. Spatial and temporal differences in crop performance could be enhanced by the higher resolution of the RCM. Crop phenology simulated in a 1×CO2 RCM scenario was closer to the observed phenology than the GCM-derived one. In the 1×CO2 scenario, vegetative phenophases were shorter and reflected the higher air temperatures in the RCM. In the 2×CO2 GCM and RCM scenarios, the crop duration, ET, and irrigation requirements diminished, with no significant changes in the yield and biomass between scenarios of the same model. The higher temperatures in the RCM-derived scenarios led to higher development rates and shorter phenophases. Nevertheless, the biomass was greater than in the GCM-derived scenarios, especially in C3 crops. Higher temperatures in the southern areas led to a lack of vernalization in the future climate scenario, which was only detected by the RCM-DSSAT (Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer). The use of direct output of the GCM is questionable given the orography, land cover, and size of the Iberian Peninsula, and it makes the use of high-resolution models necessary.

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Copyright © 2001. American Society of AgronomyPublished in Agron. J.93:237–249.