7. The impact of climate variations on agriculture.
VOL. 1: ASSESSMENT IN COOL TEMPERATE AND COLD REGIONS.
VOL. 2: ASSESSMENT IN SEMI-ARID REGIONS.
Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, 1988; Vol. 1: 876 pp., Paperback
220 Dfl.; Vol. 2: 764 pp., Hardback 200 Dfl.
These two substantial volumes arise from a project to investigate the impacts of climatic variations on the agricultural sector, carried out at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria, under the direction of Martin Parry, the leading editor.
The underlying idea, as set out in the preface, was that the impact assessments should be designed, conducted, and reported in a compatible manner even though they took place in different countries, with everything that implies in terms of economic, technical, and cultural diversity. Thus it should be possible to compare the results of one assessment with those of any other. The intention was not to look simply at the first-order (or direct) effects of climate on agriculture but also at the higher-order effects on regional and national economies.
Although the title of the book concerns climatic variations rather than climatic change, in fact much of the content, particularly in Volume 1, is devoted to impacts arising from the greenhouse effect. There are 11 case study regions altogether, with papers contributed by a team of 2-3 scientists in each. All the contributions were reviewed, and abstracts are given at the beginning of each section.
Volume 1 collects together the papers on cool temperate and cold regions: Saskatchewan, Iceland, Finland, subarctic USSR, and Japan. It opens with a set of background papers. These cover, on the one hand, discussion of regional climate scenarios for a high-CO2 world and, on the other, impacts and first-order impact models. There are two papers applying the results of a climate scenario to estimate impacts on forest productivity in Northern Hemisphere high latitudes, and the higher-order effects on the world timber trade.
Volume 2 covers semi-arid regions in Kenya, Brazil, Ecuador, India,
Australia, and European USSR. The background papers take only 120 pages as against 220 in Volume 1 and are of much less interest. One summarizes the results of the semi-arid case studies, one looks at first-order impact models, and one is a general essay on semi-arid climates.
There is a clear dislocation between the two volumes. The production of Volume 1 is much better, although potential purchasers might like to check for missing pages between 309 and 341. Volume 1 is oriented very much towards CO2-related impacts whereas Volume 2 looks almost exclusively at present-day climatic variability. On this basis we may say that the project failed in its stated aim. However, the subject matter and quality of Volume 1 is such that I would recommend people to buy it.
Abstract by J. Palutikof
1158 92 - 6/37
Review, book, Afrika, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Senegal, drought occurence, dry spells, crop variety, irrigation needs, crop water requirements
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