by Oleg SIROTENKO, Dr. Sc. (Phys. & Math.), All-Russia Research Institute of Agricultural Meteorology;
Vladimir ROMANENKOV, Cand. Sc. (Biol.), P. Pryanishnikov All-Russia Institute of Agrochemistry
All the way back in the 1970s our experts became gravely concerned about the consequences of possible climatic changes for Russia's economy. It was important to understand when planning the future of the country's farm industry: shall global warming cause a significant increase in aridity? How will natural and agroecosystems respond? And shall the soil fertility level keep up? Today we can give a fairly plausible answer to these questions.
Articles in this rubric reflect the opinion of the authors. - Ed.
Mean rate of change of mean monthly air temperatures (°C/10 yr) on the territory of the former USSR during 1975 - 2004. The warmest and the coldest month described: A - July, B - January.
Now, it is common knowledge that farm production depends greatly on climatic conditions. In particular, periodic droughts (the last one occurred here in Russia in 1998) impede the advancement of the agroindustrial sector, and so a system of measure is needed to minimize their effect. But as far back as the early 20th century two eminent Russian scientists, Acads. Nikolai Vavilov (1887 - 1943) and Dmitry Pryanishnikov (1865 - 1948), suggested programs for further stability of agricultural production by shifting part of the central farming areas northwards, to less arid regions. Today this idea is topical as never before.
In 1978 Russia registered the highest harvest of grain crops over 40 years, 136 million tons. We failed to repeat this achievement in the 1980s, in spite of the chemization (chemicalization) and technical retooling programs, and land improvement schemes (irrigation and drainage): grain output did not go up above 100 mln tons. So towards the end of the decade farm experts ... Read more