Roadblocks to assessing climate impacts on temperate perennial fruit

R. Darbyshire, E.W.R. Barlow, L. Webb, I. Goodwin
Observed climate changes are already increasing pressure on agricultural productivity, highlighting the need for the construction of reliable assessments of projected climate change impacts on plant processes. Such impact assessments underpin adaptive options and indicate pathways to manage expected risk and illustrate future opportunities. Using projections of spring frost risk for pome fruit in Australia, potential barriers to construction of climate impact assessments are demonstrated. Through using various phenology models and potential future representations of frost conditions the sensitivity of future risk outcomes were assessed at two Australian orchards. It was found that potential frost risk for seven flowering datasets was entirely method dependent with either a decrease, no change or increase resulting. Three key barriers need to be overcome to provide better assessments of climate impacts for the pome fruit industry: 1) improvement of process knowledge surrounding flowering physiology; 2) confidence in phenology model selection to represent flowering; and 3) better characterisation of frost conditions (historically and into the future). Overcoming these barriers will provide a solid foundation for adaptive responses, which is particularly critical within this industry due to time and cost of transformative adaptation.
Darbyshire, R., Barlow, E.W.R., Webb, L. and Goodwin, I. (2016). Roadblocks to assessing climate impacts on temperate perennial fruit. Acta Hortic. 1130, 11-18
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1130.2
frost, phenology, Australia, climate change, apple, pear

Acta Horticulturae