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Global change effects on crop photosynthesis and production in Mediterranean: the case of Crete, Greece

TitleGlobal change effects on crop photosynthesis and production in Mediterranean: the case of Crete, Greece
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsChartzoulakis, Psarras
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
Keywordschangement climatique, changement global, climate, climate change, climate model, Crete, crop productivity, eastern Mediterranean, ecosystem, écosystème, global change, Grèce, Greece, Méditerranée orientale, modèle climatique, modélisation, modelling, photosynthèse, photosynthesis, production des récoltes, salinity, temperature

plants will be different for each region depending on the pre-existing climatic conditions and the adaptation potential of local cultivated species. In Crete, an island with typical Mediterranean climate, high temperatures and lack of rainfall during summer are the most important factors determining productivity of tree crops. Meteorological data and predictive models of climate change indicate that the annual mean temperature of the island has already increased by 0.3 8C in the past two decades and will further increase in the future. Moreover, summer precipitation will be lower and the frequency of extreme climatic phenomena, like heat waves, will increase. Consequently, the combination of reduced rainfall and increased temperature will impose higher evapotranspiration losses, increasing the water stress problems of cultivated crops, while the reduction in the availability of irrigation water of good quality will increase the use of saline water and augment the already existing problem of salinity in the island. Therefore, cultivated species in Crete, and the Eastern Mediterranean region in general, will have to grow in a hotter, drier and, in some cases, more saline environment. In this report, the possible effects of increased temperature, UV-B radiation and reduced precipitation on the typical agricultural crops of the area are discussed, based on the current knowledge about the effects of climate change on plant photosynthesis and productivity. Special consideration is accounted to the negative effects that may counterbalance the benefits of higher photosynthetic rates and water use efficiency introduced by the future increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration.

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