Growing season for agricultural crops
Published (reviewed and quality assured)
Justification for indicator selection
Increasing air temperatures are significantly affecting the duration of the growing season over large areas of Europe (Scheifinger et al., 2003). The number of consecutive days with temperatures above 0 oC can be assumed to be the period favourable for growth. The timing and length of this frost-free period is of interest to naturalists, farmers and gardeners among others. The impact on plants and animals is reported mainly as a clear trend towards an earlier start of growth in spring and its prolongation into autumn (Menzel and Fabian, 1999). A longer growing season allows the proliferation of species that have optimal conditions for development and an increase in their productivity (e.g. crop yields, insect population), and the introduction of new species (very sensitive to frost) in areas previously limited by unfavourable thermal conditions. Changes in management practices, e.g. changes in the species grown, different varieties, or adaptations of the crop calendar, can counteract the negative effects of a changing growing season (pests) and capture the benefits (agricultural crops).
- No rationale references available
- Rate of change of crop growing season length 1975-2007
- Length of frost-free period in selected European areas 1975-2007
Policy context and targets
In April 2009 the European Commission presented a White Paper on the framework for adaptation policies and measures to reduce the European Union's vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. The aim is to increase the resilience to climate change of health, property and the productive functions of land, inter alia by improving the management of water resources and ecosystems. More knowledge is needed on climate impact and vulnerability but a considerable amount of information and research already exists which can be shared better through a proposed Clearing House Mechanism. The White Paper stresses the need to mainstream adaptation into existing and new EU policies. A number of Member States have already taken action and several have prepared national adaptation plans. The EU is also developing actions to enhance and finance adaptation in developing countries as part of a new post-2012 global climate agreement expected in Copenhagen (Dec. 2009). For more information see: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/adaptation/index_en.htm
No targets have been specified
Related policy documents
No related policy documents have been specified
Methodology for indicator calculation
Methodology for gap filling
No methodology references available.
EEA data references
- No datasets have been specified here.
External data references
Data sources in latest figures
Data sets uncertainty
No uncertainty has been specified
Short term work
Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.
Long term work
Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.
Responsibility and ownership
EEA Contact InfoHans-Martin Füssel
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
PDF generated on 23 Dec 2014, 05:56 AM