Rainfed winter wheat cultivation in the North German Plain will be water limited under climate change until 2070

Environ Sci Eur. 2015;27(1):29. doi: 10.1186/s12302-015-0061-6. Epub 2015 Nov 10.


Background: We analysed regionalised ECHAM6 climate data for the North German Plains (NGP) in two time slots from 1981 to 2010 and 2041 to 2070.

Results: The annual mean temperature will increase significantly (by about 2 °C) that will result in shorter growing periods since the sum of degree days until harvest will be reached earlier. Even if the amount of total precipitation does not change there appears to be a shift towards increased winter precipitation and thus noticeable reduced summer precipitation.

Conclusions: Through the example of winter wheat we show a future limitation of water availability if yields are to be maintained or even increase.

Keywords: Growing period; Resource efficient production systems; Summer rainfall.