Chilling accumulation in fruit trees in Spain under climate change

Rodríguez, Alfredo; Pérez-López, David; Sánchez, Enrique; Centeno, Ana; Gómara, Iñigo; Dosio, Alessandro; Ruiz-Ramos, Margarita

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 requires accumulating chilling temperatures to finish this sort of dormancy. The accumulation of cool temperatures according to specific rules is called chilling accumulation, and each tree species and variety has specific chilling requirements for correct plant development. Under global warming, it is expected that the fulfilment of the chilling requirements to break dormancy in 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 purpose, bias-adjusted results of 10 regional climate models (RCMs) under Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) 4.5 and 8.5 were used as inputs of four different models for calculating chilling accumulation, and the results for each model were individually compared for the 2021–2050 and 2071–2100 future periods under both RCPs. These results project a generalised reduction in chilling accumulation regardless of the RCP, future period or chilling calculation model used, with higher reductions for the 2071–2100 period and the RCP8.5 scenario. The projected winter chill decrease may threaten the viability of some tree crops and varieties in some areas where the crop is currently grown, 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.



Rodríguez, Alfredo / Pérez-López, David / Sánchez, Enrique / et al: Chilling accumulation in fruit trees in Spain under climate change. 2019. Copernicus Publications.


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Rechteinhaber: Alfredo Rodríguez et al.

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