Effect of Variations in Climate on Agriculture in Northern Norway

by Alex Nuffer

The impact of climate change on agriculture varies among geographic areas largely because of soil properties, local climate, local and regional markets, management strategies, and agricultural tradition. In northern Norway, climate research has concluded that the main changes in regional climate include increasing temperatures, precipitation, and frequency of extreme weather events. These changes introduce new beneficial opportunities for agriculture through the introduction of new crops, increase of yield, and expansion of cultivation areas. Uleberg, Hanssen-Baur, van Oort, and Dalmanndsdottir (2013) assessed the impact of climate change on agriculture in six municipalities in northern Norway on plant production and animal husbandry, as well as presented possible adaptive strategies to harness the potential benefits from climate change. The study was based on downscaled climate projections for the different municipalities, along with interviews from farmers, key informants, and municipal administrators. The municipalities spanned across different climatic zones of Norway and included coastal, interior, Sub-Arctic, and Arctic. The authors discovered that the most influential challenges from variations in climate included unstable winters, increase of autumn precipitation, and increase in pathogens and weeds. Although these challenges pose threats to agriculture, the extension of the short growth season and higher growth temperatures bring forth new agricultural opportunities that could potentially be beneficial, as long as adaptation strategies tailor to these changes. Continue reading