Title: Comparison of modelling approaches to simulate the phenology of the European corn borer under future climate scenarios
Citation: ECOLOGICAL MODELLING vol. 245 p. 65-74
Publication Year: 2012
JRC N°: JRC68851
ISSN: 0304-3800
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304380012001615
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2012.03.034
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The thermal time approach is one of the most widely used method to simulate the phenological development of insects. Despite a large body of literature supporting the evidence that the organism physiological response to temperature is nonlinear, including a declining phase, thermal time based models calculate thermal accumulation using a linear approach, suggesting that these models work properly only when air temperatures do not fall outside of the linear region of the organism thermal response. Another simplification is represented by the calculation of degree-days using daily mean air temperature, which has already been demonstrated being a not reliable method. It can be hypothesized that the use of developmental models based on linear developmental rates, which can be successfully applied under ‘standard’ climate conditions, could be inadequate under either future climatic scenarios or when extreme events occur (e.g., heat waves). In such contexts, linear responses might lead to interpretations of climate effects not consistent with the real organism physiological response to temperature. The objectives of this work were: i) to show that different approaches to simulate pests phenological development under actual and future climate can lead to different results, and ii) to underline the importance of choosing the most appropriate approach while assessing pests response to climate scenarios diverse from the one in which the organism is well adapted. In this work the case of Ostrinia nubilalis Hbn. (European Corn Borer – ECB) development was taken as an example to compare i) a non-linear approach with hourly air temperature as input (HNL approach), ii) a linear based approach with hourly air temperature as input (HL approach), and iii) a linear based approach with daily air temperature as input (DL approach). The comparison was performed under the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change) emission scenario A1B, and three time frames in Europe: 1995-2004 (2000s), 2015-2024 (2020s), 2045-2054 (2050s). Results showed that in Europe the DL approach predicts at least one ECB started generation more than the HNL and the HL in all the time frames. The HNL and HL approach predicted the same number of ECB started generations during 2000s and 2020s with the exception of southern Finland, where the HNL predicted one started generation more than the HL. The HL predicted one started ECB generation more than the HNL during 2050s in Southern Spain. The results of this work showed that according to the method chosen for simulations, different results can be obtained, hence leading to different conclusions about the effect of a warming climate on pest development. These results stress the need of reconsidering system analysis in order to evaluate the appropriateness of models to be used, which cannot be assumed as correct on the basis of their effectiveness in current conditions.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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