Scientists Publish on Potential Climate Impact on Citrus Irrigation Water Requirements

Dr. Ali Fares, Associate Director of Research; Dr. Haimanote K. Bayabil, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow; and Dr. Ripendra Awal, Research Scientist, all of the Cooperative Agricultural Research Center (CARC), recently published a peer-reviewed article entitled “Potential climate change impacts on citrus water requirement across major producing areas in the world” in the Journal of Water and Climate Change.

These three were joined by Dr. Mongi Zekri of the University of Florida and Dr. Dirceu Mattos-Jr, a scientific researcher with the Instituto Agronômico (IAC) in Brazil, to carry out this work to investigate the impact of potential future climate change (in the 2055s and 2090s) on citrus water requirements in major citrus producing regions across the world, e.g., Africa (Cape Town, South Africa), Asia (Mersin, Turkey), Australia (Riverland, Australia), Mediterranean (Nabeul, Tunisia), North America (Riverside, California; Fort Pierce and Lake Alfred, Florida; and Brownsville, Texas), and South America (Sao Paulo, Brazil).

Predicted irrigation requirements (IRR) show significant spatio-temporal variations across study regions. Future annual IRR are predicted to globally decrease; however, future monthly IRR showed mixed results. Future evapotranspiration and IRR are projected to decrease by up to 12 and 37%, respectively, in response to increases in CO2 concentration.

Such predictive data are essential for the global efforts of planning for climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies for the citrus industry. Further studies are needed to investigate how citrus yield would respond under potential climate change, including an economic analysis.

This work was originally presented in a Keynote presentation at the International Citrus Congress (ICC) held in Foz do Iguaçu, PR – Brazil from September 18-23, 2016. The ICC is a venue where researchers working on citrus from all over the globe gather every four years to discuss latest research findings and issues related to citrus.

Eric Risch, Ph.D.
Eric Risch, Ph.D.
Research Scientist Leader (Natural Resources and Environmental Systems)
(936) 261-5040