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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2018-392
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2018-392
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 15 Jan 2019

Research article | 15 Jan 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

Chilling accumulation in temperate fruit trees in Spain under climate change

Alfredo Rodríguez1,2, David Pérez-López1, Enrique Sánchez3, Ana Centeno1, Iñigo Gómara1, Alessandro Dosio4, and Margarita Ruiz-Ramos1 Alfredo Rodríguez et al.
  • 1CEIGRAM, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, 28040, Madrid, Spain
  • 2Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Department of Economic Analysis and Finances, 45071, Toledo, Spain
  • 3Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Biochemistry, 45071, Toledo, Spain
  • 4European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy

Abstract. Temperate fruit trees account for almost half of the worldwide fruit production, with Spain one of the largest world producers. Growing trees are quite vulnerable to cold temperatures. To minimise the effect of these cold temperatures, they stop their growth over the coldest months of the year, a state called dormancy. In particular, endodormancy, i.e. a dormancy related to the plant's inner physiological factors, requires accumulating cool temperatures to finish dormancy (be broken). The accumulation of cool temperatures according to specific rules is called chilling accumulation, and the chilling accumulation required to break dormancy is different for each tree crop and variety. There are several methods to calculate the chilling accumulation, all of them based on temperature only. Under global warming, it is expected that the fulfilment of the chilling requirements to break dormancy in temperate fruit trees could be compromised. In this study, the impact of climate change on the chilling accumulation over Peninsular Spain and the Balearic Islands was assessed. For this, bias-adjusted results of 10 Regional Climate Models (RCMs) under Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 were used as inputs of four different methods for calculating chilling accumulation, and the results were compared for the near and far future under both RCPs. These results project a generalised reduction in chilling accumulation regardless of the RCP, future period or chilling calculation method used, with higher reductions for the far future and the RCP8.5 scenario. The projected winter chill decrease may threaten the viability of some tree crops and varieties in some areas, but also shows scope for varieties with lower chilling requirements. The results are relevant for planning future tree plantations under climate change, supporting adaptation of spatial distribution of tree crops and varieties in Spain.

Alfredo Rodríguez et al.
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Short summary
Temperate fruit trees account for almost half of the global fruit production. Fruit trees stop their growth during the coldest months of the year until meeting a required cold accumulation. Under future global warming scenarios, a reduction in cold accumulation in Spain is projected. This threatens the viability of some actual tree crops and varieties in some areas, but other varieties with less requirements can be used. Our results allow adapting future tree plantations under climate change.
Temperate fruit trees account for almost half of the global fruit production. Fruit trees stop...
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