Attribution of climate change: a methodology to estimate the potential contribution to increases in potato yield in Scotland since 1960
Gregory, P. J. and Marshall, B. (2012) Attribution of climate change: a methodology to estimate the potential contribution to increases in potato yield in Scotland since 1960. Global Change Biology, 18 (4). pp. 1372-1388. ISSN 1365-2486
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02601.x
Maincrop potato yields in Scotland have increased by 3035 similar to t similar to ha-1 since 1960 as a result of many changes, but has changing climate contributed anything to this? The purpose of this work was to answer this question. Daily weather data for the period 19602006 were analysed for five locations covering the zones of potato growing on the east coast of Scotland (between 55.213 and 57.646 similar to N) to determine trends in temperature, rainfall and solar radiation. A physiologically based potato yield model was validated using data obtained from a long-term field trial in eastern Scotland and then employed to simulate crop development and potential yield at each of the five sites. Over the 47 similar to years, there were significant increases in annual air and 30 similar to cm soil temperatures (0.27 and 0.30 similar to K similar to decade-1, respectively), but no significant changes in annual precipitation or in the timing of the last frost in spring and the first frost of autumn. There was no evidence of any north to south gradient of warming. Simulated emergence and canopy closure became earlier at all five sites over the period with the advance being greater in the north (3.7 and 3.6 similar to days similar to decade-1, respectively) than the south (0.5 and 0.8 similar to days similar to decade-1, respectively). Potential yield increased with time, generally reflecting the increased duration of the green canopy, at average rates of 2.8 similar to t similar to ha-1 decade-1 for chitted seed (sprouted prior to planting) and 2.5 similar to t similar to ha-1 decade-1 for unchitted seed. The measured warming could contribute potential yield increases of up to 13.2 similar to t similar to ha-1 for chitted potato (range 7.119.3 similar to t similar to ha-1) and 11.5 similar to t similar to ha-1 for unchitted potato (range 7.115.5 similar to t similar to ha-1) equivalent to 3439% of the increased potential yield over the period or 2326% of the increase in actual measured yields.