Presenter/Author Information

A. Holzkämper
P. Calanca
J. Fuhrer

Keywords

climate indices, agriculture, suitability evaluation, climate change

Start Date

1-7-2010 12:00 AM

Description

With climate change increased water shortage and extreme weather eventsduring the cropping season may cause more frequent crop loss, yield instability, and makecultivated areas less suitable for traditional crops. In order to develop long-term agriculturalpolicies, planners need to understand the likely impacts of climate change on the climatesuitability for different cultivation types. Agroclimatic indices have great potential tocommunicate the impacts of climate change. However, each metric only represents aspecific aspect of climate that may or may not be relevant for the growth of a certain croptype. To guide planners and policy makers, different indices have to be aggregated in acomprehensible manner. In this paper we present a framework for estimating agriculturalsuitability for major crops in Switzerland. The framework is based on an evaluation ofagroclimatic indices for relevant phenological phases of a range of crops. This allows fortaking into account that climate change may lead to significant shifts in growth phases andsensitive periods. Suitability functions are defined for each index. A weighted linearcombination is used to aggregate the different elements of climate suitability for each cropand cultivation type. Suitability functions and weights are derived from scientific literatureand expert knowledge.

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Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

Evaluating Climate Suitability for Agriculture in Switzerland

With climate change increased water shortage and extreme weather eventsduring the cropping season may cause more frequent crop loss, yield instability, and makecultivated areas less suitable for traditional crops. In order to develop long-term agriculturalpolicies, planners need to understand the likely impacts of climate change on the climatesuitability for different cultivation types. Agroclimatic indices have great potential tocommunicate the impacts of climate change. However, each metric only represents aspecific aspect of climate that may or may not be relevant for the growth of a certain croptype. To guide planners and policy makers, different indices have to be aggregated in acomprehensible manner. In this paper we present a framework for estimating agriculturalsuitability for major crops in Switzerland. The framework is based on an evaluation ofagroclimatic indices for relevant phenological phases of a range of crops. This allows fortaking into account that climate change may lead to significant shifts in growth phases andsensitive periods. Suitability functions are defined for each index. A weighted linearcombination is used to aggregate the different elements of climate suitability for each cropand cultivation type. Suitability functions and weights are derived from scientific literatureand expert knowledge.