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Assessing Agriculture Vulnerabilities for the design of Effective Measures for Adaption to Climate Change (AVEMAC)


The AVEMAC study presents an assessment of the potential vulnerability of European agriculture to changing climatic conditions in the coming decades. The analysis is based weather data generated from two contrasting realizations of the A1B emission scenario of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for the time horizons 2020 and 2030. These two realizations (obtained from two different general circulation models, downscaled using regional climate models and bias-corrected) represent the warmest and coldest realizations of the A1B scenario over Europe as estimated by the ENSEMBLES project. The future weather data served to perform two types of analyses. The first consisted in computing static agro-meteorological indicators as proxies of potential vulnerabilities of agricultural systems, expressed as changes in the classification of agricultural areas under climate constraints in Europe. The second analysis relies on biophysical modelling to characterize expected specific crop responses derived from crop growth simulations at different production levels (potential production, water-limited production, and production limited by diseases). Assessing the importance of climate change vulnerability requires not only the localisation of relative yield changes, but also the analysis of the impact of the change on the acreage affected. Consequently, the simulation results of the impact assessment on crops were further processed to estimate the potential changes in production at NUTS2 level. This was achieved by relating the simulation results to farm typologies in order to identify which types of systems are likely to be affected by reductions in production. The analyses of this study must be considered as a first step only, since they have neither included adaptation strategies that the farmer can take in response to changes in climate, nor a bio-economic evaluation of estimated vulnerabilities. Therefore, the main aspects and the requirements for a possible future integrated analysis at EU27 level to address climate change and agriculture with the target of providing policy support are also presented in this report. Eventually the results of this study shall help the formulation of appropriate policy options and the development of adequate policy instruments to support the adaptation to climate change of the EU agricultural sector.
The motivation of this study has been the lack of information on vulnerabilities, risks, and needs in adaptation of the European agriculture under a changing climate in the next decades. Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI) therefore asked the scientific support of the Joint Research Centre to conduct this study in order to present the existing knowledge through mapping and characterizing the vulnerabilities of EU agricultural systems to climate change, to come up with a methodological framework and to propose follow-up actions.

Project information


European Commission - Joint Research Centre - Mars Unit


AGRI4CAST, GeoCAP, AGRI-ENV and AGRITRADE from JRC - Institute for Environment and Sustainability and Institute for Prospective Technological Studies

Source of funding

European Commission

Published in Climate-ADAPT Jun 07 2016   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Jun 18 2021

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