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Grain quality in the Broadbalk Wheat Experiment and the winter North Atlantic Oscillation

  • M. D. ATKINSON (a1), P. S. KETTLEWELL (a1), P. R. POULTON (a2) and P. D. HOLLINS (a1)


Previous work has shown that the national average quality of the UK wheat crop from 1974 to 1999 was associated with the preceding winter North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The association of the winter NAO with the grain quality measure, specific weight, was shown to be mediated by sunshine duration during grain filling and unconditional wet day probability during grain ripening (the probability of a wet day following either a dry or a wet day). The present study tests the hypothesis that the association between specific weight and the winter NAO can be detected in data from 158 years of the Broadbalk Wheat Experiment at Rothamsted in south-east England. Specific weight from the Broadbalk Experiment responded to sunshine duration during grain filling and unconditional wet day probability during grain ripening in a similar way to the national average data. An association with the winter NAO was found in the Broadbalk data from 1956 to 2001, but not in the previous 112 years (1844–1955). This finding is consistent with other work showing significant correlations between the winter NAO and summer climate only in recent decades. It is concluded that the association between wheat quality and the NAO is a recent phenomenon.


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Grain quality in the Broadbalk Wheat Experiment and the winter North Atlantic Oscillation

  • M. D. ATKINSON (a1), P. S. KETTLEWELL (a1), P. R. POULTON (a2) and P. D. HOLLINS (a1)


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