How is climate change affecting the growing season for agricultural crops?

Policy Question
Indicator codes: CLIM 030

Key messages

(19 Dec 2016)

  • The thermal growing season for agricultural crops in Europe has lengthened by more than 10 days since 1992. The delay in the end of the growing season has been more pronounced than the advance of the start of the season. The length of the growing season has increased more in northern and eastern Europe than in western and southern Europe.
  • The growing season is projected to increase further throughout most of Europe owing to the earlier onset of growth in spring and later senescence in autumn.
  • The projected lengthening of the thermal growing season would allow a northwards expansion of warm-season crops to areas that were not previously suitable. In parts of southern Europe (e.g. Spain), warmer conditions will allow crop cultivation to be shifted to the winter.

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