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Assessing agriculture vulnerabilities for the design of effective measures for adaption to climate change (AVEMAC project)

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This final report of 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 on 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 biascorrected) represent the warmest and coldest realizations of the A1B scenario over Europe as estimated by the ENSEMBLES project. The future weather data fed two types of analyses. The first analysis consisted in computing static agro-meteorological indicators as proxies of potential vulnerabilities of agricultural systems, expressed as changes in the classification of agricultural areas in Europe under climate constraints. The second analysis relied on biophysical modelling to characterize crop specific plant responses derived from crop growth simulations at different production levels (potential production, water-limited production, and production limited by diseases). Assessing the importance of vulnerability to climate change 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 sub-national (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.

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