Projected climate change impact on wheat and maize in Italy

Andrea Gallo, Valentina Mereu, Donatella Spano


Agriculture is one of the most important sectors for global economy. Its high vulnerability to climate conditions cause a serious concern for the consequence determined by the incoming climate changes. The increase in temperature and decrease in rainfall, projected for the next decades in the Mediterranean Basin, may cause a significant impact on crop development and production.

In this contest, the assessment of the climate change impacts on crop growth and yield is necessary in order to identify the crops and areas more vulnerable and suggest adaptation strategies to cope with climate change.

The use of crop simulation models, such as those implemented in DSSAT-CSM (Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer - Cropping System Model) software, version 4.5., is the most common approach for the assessment of climate change impacts on crop development and yields. These models are often used at field scale. However, recent studies have been carried out at both regional and continental scale.

In this work, CSM-CERES-Wheat and CSM-CERES-Maize crop models, parameterized at Italian scale for different varieties of durum wheat, common wheat and maize, were applied to assess climate change impacts on crop phenology and productivity. Dynamically downscaled climate data, using by the Regional Climate Model COSMO-CLM, and RCP 4.5 and 8.5 scenarios were used for impact assessment. Moreover, some adaptation strategies were evaluated. Results, analyzed at regional level, will be discussed.

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