Publication Abstracts

Donatelli et al. 2003

Donatelli, M., F.N. Tubiello, U. Peruch, and C. Rosenzweig, 2003: Impacts of climate change and elevated CO2 on sugar beet production in northern and central Italy. Ital. J. Agron., 6, 133-142.

Background. The yield potential of sugar beet in Italy is lower than in Central Europe. Hence, the profitability of the crop is also lower, and a future change in climate associated with global warming may put at risk the national sugar processing industry. We simulated production of sugar beet in northern and central Italy under current and future climate scenarios, the latter derived from the Hadley Centre general circulation model (GCM).

Methods. Two future time-periods were considered for analysis, 2040s and 2090s, with atmospheric CO2 concentrations of 450 ppm and 615 ppm, respectively. Sugar beet production was simulated in rotation with soybean, sunflower, wheat, soybean, canola and maize, at six Italian sites: Brescia, Padova, Modena, Pisa, Osimo, and Perugia in order to provide a wide range of environments in Northern-Southern Italy. The model CropSyst was used to compute above and below-ground crop growth and yield, soil water movement, and the effects of elevated CO2 on plant photosynthesis and transpiration. Simulations under climate change included the possibility to adapt crop management to new conditions, by modifying irrigation amounts and date of sowing.

Results. Simulation results indicate that sugar beet production would not be significantly affected under the climate change scenarios considered. Irrigated sugar beet yields increased at most sites under climate change, compared to present, in the range +2% to +5% in 2040 and -4% to +15% in 2090. Rainfed yields varied -4% to +10% in 2040, and -8% to +9% in 2090. At most sites increased crop-growth rates under elevated CO2 and increased precipitation regimes were sufficient to overcome the negative effects on crop yields linked to higher temperatures. Anticipated sowing helped to maintain production under climate change at current levels. Irrigation increases of +13 to +24% were necessary to maintain irrigated sugar beet production at present levels, due to higher temperatures and increased evapotranspiration rates.

Conclusions. Results from this study indicate that sugar beet production in northern and central Italy may not be greatly affected by future climate change, if global warming will be characterized by increased temperature and increased precipitation regimes, as the Hadley Centre scenario used herein indicated. Simulations also indicated that, despite the success in maintaining or increasing yields from baseline levels using adaptation, total irrigation use may increase under future climate change, due to increased evaporative demands under global warming.

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BibTeX Citation

  author={Donatelli, M. and Tubiello, F. N. and Peruch, U. and Rosenzweig, C.},
  title={Impacts of climate change and elevated CO2 on sugar beet production in northern and central Italy},
  journal={Italian Journal of Agronomy},

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RIS Citation

ID  - do04000r
AU  - Donatelli, M.
AU  - Tubiello, F. N.
AU  - Peruch, U.
AU  - Rosenzweig, C.
PY  - 2003
TI  - Impacts of climate change and elevated CO2 on sugar beet production in northern and central Italy
JA  - Ital. J. Agron.
JO  - Italian Journal of Agronomy
VL  - 6
SP  - 133
EP  - 142
ER  -

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