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Report2022Open access

Identification and synthesis of agrometeorological extreme weather indicators for the temperate-boreal zone

Malmquist, Louise; Barron, Jennie


Extreme weather events are per definition rare. These events are classified differently depending on sector and system of interest. Agrometeorological extremes consider the relation of potential and actual impact of weather events on crop development and yield. Climate change is changing todays’ extreme events in frequency, occurrence, and extent (intensity). This document reviews definitions of extreme weather linked to agricultural production in the Nordics. The objective is to identify relevant agrometeorological indices of normal and extreme weather for assessing potential impacts on crop production in the temperate-boreal zone. The review is limited to indices related to the meteorological variables of precipitation and temperature. The result show that definitions of agrometeorological extreme events used in literature are not standardized. The review found a substantial number of studies using typical meteorological definitions, especially linked to extreme precipitation and drought events (n =19 of 22, and n = 9 of 13 individual definitions respectively), even when the application was intended to assess potential agricultural (crop) impacts. In total, n = 33 publications for Nordic and global sources were reviewed with 44 % of definitions addressed temperature, 40 % addresses precipitation and 14 % related to combination of two or more weather features (such as aridity index). Unlike meteorological and hydrological indices, agrometeorological indices need to reflect intra-seasonal frequency and intensity of events, to inform crop and animal husbandry management. Relevant high-resolution agro-climatic assessments is necessary to inform agricultural adaptation strategies and investments in temperate-boreal zones, when todays’ extreme weather becomes the new normal.


Extreme weather; Agro- climatic indices; Cold spells; Crop yield; Drought; Dryspells; Heat waves; Soil saturation; Scandinavian Peninsula

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eISBN: 978-91-576-9955-8
Publisher: Department of Soil and Environment, Department of Soil and Environment