Using a Statistical Approach to Anticipate Leaf Wetness Duration Under Climate Change in France

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Frédéric Huard1, Arnold-Fred Imig1 and Pierre Perrin2, (1)INRA - AgroClim, AVIGNON, France, (2)INRA - Agir, TOULOUSE, France
Leaf wetness plays a major role in the development of fungal plant diseases. Leaf wetness duration (LWD) above a threshold value is determinant for infection and can be seen as a good indicator of impact of climate on infection occurrence and risk.

As LWD is not widely measured, several methods, based on physics and empirical approach, have been developed to estimate it from weather data. Many LWD statistical models do exist, but the lack of standard for measurements require reassessments. A new empirical LWD model, called MEDHI (Modèle d’Estimation de la Durée d’Humectation à l’Inra) was developed for french configuration for wetness sensors (angle : 90°, height : 50 cm). This deployment is different from what is usually recommended from constructors or authors in other countries (angle from 10 to 60°, height from 10 to 150 cm…). MEDHI is a decision support system based on hourly climatic conditions at time steps n and n-1 taking account relative humidity, rainfall and previously simulated LWD. Air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, rain and LWD data from several sensors with 2 configurations were measured during 6 months in Toulouse and Avignon (South West and South East of France) to calibrate MEDHI. A comparison of empirical models : NHRH (RH threshold), DPD (dew point depression), CART (classification and regression tree analysis dependant on RH, wind speed and dew point depression) and MEDHI, using meteorological and LWD measurements obtained during 5 months in Toulouse, showed that the development of this new model MEHDI was definitely better adapted to French conditions.

In the context of climate change, MEDHI was used for mapping the evolution of leaf wetness duration in France from 1950 to 2100 with the French regional climate model ALADIN under different Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) and using a QM (Quantile-Mapping) statistical downscaling method. Results give information on the spatial distribution of infection risks during the current century. Such approach could be easily combined with thermal response curves of fungal infection for various pathogens.