Climate change impacts on agriculture in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR)

The effects of climate change on cereal crops and pasture yields is a common research field for the agriculture sector. In a temperate region such as the BSR, a temperature increase of 1-3 °C, simultaneously with altered precipitation and CO2 atmospheric concentration, could have overall small beneficial effects on the crop yields (IPCC, 2007a). This section demonstrates modelling results of climate change likely impacts on crop yields (Olesen et al., 2007; EEA, 2008), but also changes in nitrate leaching (Olesen et al., 2007) and crop suitability zones (Fronzek and Carter, 2007; Olesen et al., 2007).

The summary of the impacts on agriculture are presented in Table 1. For further details about the each subsection and specific studies, click on the links below the table. For tips on how to interpret the information in the table see the Swedish example on the right.

Table 1. Climate change impacts on agriculture in the BalticClimate countries – a summary of general outlooks for the found impact scenarios interpreted from different scientific studies
(↑↑ Considerable increase; ↑ Slight increase; ↓↓ Considerable decrease; ↓ Slight decrease; ○ No or insignificant change; ~ Outcome very uncertain; ~↑ Outcome uncertain, increase tendency; ~↓ Outcome uncertain, decrease tendency; ─ Not included in the analysis)

Climate change impacts on:

SWE

FIN

EST

LAT

LIT

RU

GER

Soya bean suitability ~↑ ~↑ ~↑ ~↑ ~↑ ~↑
Maize suitability ~↑ ~↑ ↑↑ ↑↑ ↑↑ ↑↑
Winter wheat yield ↑↑ ↑↑ ↑↑ ↑↑ ↑↑ ↑↑ ↑↑
Nitrate leaching from winter wheat ~↓ ~ ~↓ ~↓ ~↓ ~↓ ~↑
Crop yield ↑↑ ↑↑ ~↑ ↑↑

For examples of impact scenarios reviewed from different scientific papers/reports, see the following subsections:

Soya bean suitability (Europe)
Maize suitability (Europe)
Winter wheat yield and nitrate leaching from winter wheat plantations (Europe)
Crop yield (Europe)

Soya bean suitability (Europe)

Fronzek and Carter (2007) studied the future soya bean suitability zones in Europe for several climate scenarios, based on different models and emission scenarios. The result for Europe shows a shift in the suitability zone for soya bean under future climate scenarios for 2071-2100 (Figure 1). The estimated future suitable zones of soya bean in the BSR varies depending on models and emission scenarios. The result of the regional circulation model (RCM) based A2 emissions scenario indicated an expansion of the suitability zones in central Europe, including large parts of Germany. However, the uncertainty range (the maximum possible expansion) includes southern Sweden and Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, parts of Russia and Germany. The uncertainty range increases with the general circulation model (GCM) based climate scenarios. A general outlook for future soya bean suitability in BSR interpreted from the results in Fronzek and Carter (2007) is illustrated in Table 2.

Figure 1. Projected suitability for soya bean (var. Kingsoy) cultivation for the future (2071-2100) and baseline (1961–1990 based on observed temperatures). Green areas show the suitable area for the baseline, red depicts the expansion common under all scenarios and blue the uncertainty range spanned by the minimum and maximum expansion of the scenarios in the respective group. Grey areas are unsuitable under all scenarios. (Fig. 2 in Fronzek et al. (2007)) (click to enlarge)

Table 2. General outlook for soya bean suitability
(↑ Slight increase; ~↑ Outcome uncertain, increase tendency)


SWE FIN EST LAT LIT RU GER
Change ~↑ ~↑ ~↑ ~↑ ~↑ ~↑ ↑ 

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Maize suitability (Europe)

The suitability for grain maize cultivation was analyzed by Olesen et al. (2007) using simple indices on climate scenarios. The effective temperature sum¹ was used to estimate the thermal suitability for successful cultivation. The suitability calculation was based on modelled climate data (2071-2100 compared to 1961-1990) from 7 RCM scenarios driven by HadAM3H for the A2 emissions scenario and 24 climate scenarios based on six different GCMs for each of the A1FI, A2, B1 and B2 emissions scenarios. 

According to the RCM based A2 climate calculations there will be an expansion of suitable areas in southern parts of Finland and Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Baltic part of Russia and the parts of Germany that are not suitable for the baseline. The calculations resulted in larger suitability uncertainty for the GCM based A1FI, A2, B1 and B2 scenarios than for the RCM based SRES A2 scenario (Figure 2). A general projection for future suitable areas for grain maize in BSR is illustrated in Table 3, interpreted from the results of Olesen et al. (2007).

Figure 2. Modelled suitability for grain maize cultivation during the current (1961–1990) and future (2071–2100) climate situations for: a) 7 RCM scenarios driven by HadAM3H for the A2 emissions scenario and b) 24 scenarios from 6 GCMs for the A1FI, A2, B1 and B2 emissions scenarios. Grey areas are unsuitable under all scenarios. (Fig. 4 in Olesen et al. (2007)) (click to enlarge)

Table 3. General outlook for maize suitability
(↑↑ Considerable increase; ↑ Slight increase; ~↑ Outcome uncertain, increase tendency)


SWE FIN EST LAT LIT RU GER
Change ~↑ ~↑ ↑↑ ↑↑ ↑↑ ↑↑ ↑ 

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Winter wheat yield and nitrate leaching from winter wheat plantations (Europe)

The Daisy model is a dynamic-soil-plant-atmosphere model. This model has been used by Olesen et al. (2007) to estimate the yield of rain-fed winter wheat monoculture without the straw included under climate change. For each climate-soil combination of the studied area the optimal N fertilizer rate was estimated, based on simulated N response. A multiple linear regression model of nitrate leaching from winter wheat cultivations and winter wheat yield at optimal N rate on soil and climate variables were then estimated. The impact modelling was driven by nine regional climate models with HadAM3H A2 bounding conditions for a baseline (1961-1990) and for the future (2071-2100).

The results for 2071-2100 (Figure 3) indicate that the BSR will have increased yield of winter wheat, however, only the southern parts of Sweden and Finland are included in the study since the northern parts are estimated to be unsuitable for winter wheat. The future nitrate leaching tends to be more uncertain. The projections indicate a decrease of leaching in the BSR; however, the results are uncertain for the coastlines. A general projection for future winter wheat yield and nitrate leaching in the BSR is illustrated in Table 4 and Table 5, interpreted from the results by Olesen et al. (2007).

 

Figure 3. Estimated winter wheat yield (a, b) and nitrate leaching at optimal N fertiliser rate from winter wheat cultivation (c, d) for the baseline 1961–1990 period (a, c), and changes for 9 RCMs with HadAM3H A2 as bounding conditions (b, d). Grey areas are projected to be unsuitable for winter wheat. (Fig. 5 in Olesen et al. (2007)) (click to enlarge)

Table 4. General outlook for winter wheat yield
(↑↑ Considerable increase)


SWE FIN EST LAT LIT RU GER
Change ↑↑ ↑↑ ↑↑ ↑↑ ↑↑ ↑↑ ↑↑ 

 

Table 5. General outlook for nitrate leaching from winter wheat
(~ Outcome very uncertain; ~↑ Outcome uncertain, increase tendency; ~↓ Outcome uncertain, decrease tendency)


SWE FIN EST LAT LIT RU GER
Change ~↓ ~ ~↓ ~↓ ~↓ ~↓ ~↑ 

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Crop yield (Europe)

Crop yield estimations for future Europe have been performed in a project called PESETA (PESETA, 2007). A Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DSSAT) was used in the study to quantify the physical impacts of climate change on agriculture based on two climate scenarios: HadCM3/HIRHAM and ECHAM4/RCA3 both calculated with the high emission scenario A2. DSSAT consist of mechanistic crop models, these models simulate the phenological development affected by the environment and management factors: soil, climate, crop variety, planting conditions, nitrogen fertilization and irrigation (PESETA, 2007).

The projected changes of crop yield for the BSR vary to some extent depending climate scenario (Figure 4). In general, the projections point to an increase of crop yield for the BSR in the 2080s compared to 1961-1990. Sweden and Finland are estimated to have the highest increase, 15 to 30%. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are estimated to have increased yield of 0 to 30% varying with region and climate model, one exception though, a south region of Lithuania is projected to have decreased crop yield, -5 to 0%, with the ECHAM4/RCA3 A2 climate scenario. Germany will, according to these simulations, have the largest decrease in crop yield throughout the BSR; varying in the rage of 30% decrease to 5% increase. A general projection for the BSR is illustrated in Table 6, interpreted from the results of PESETA in EEA (2008).

Figure 4. Projected changes in crops yield in the 2080s compared to the reference period 1961–1990 by two different models (Map 7.4 in EEA (2008)) (click to enlarge)

Table 6. General outlook for crop yield
(↑↑ Considerable increase; ↑ Slight increase; ↓ Slight decrease; ~↑ Outcome uncertain, increase tendency)


SWE FIN EST LAT LIT RU GER
Change ↑↑ ↑↑ ~↑ ↑↑ ↓ 

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Look at the impacts on other sectors:

» Energy
» Housing and water
» Overall economy
» Forestry
» Health
» Natural environment


¹  Effective temperature sum - degree days with daily mean temperatures above 10°C cumulated for all days of the year (Olesen et al., 2007).