Research objectives and content
climate change and climatic variability on agriculture in Europe. Research will follow two main themes:
i) the advancement of fundamental research on mechanistic crop-climate modelli and (ii) the development of methodologies for scaling up site-based crop models to investigate climate change impacts on regional cropping systems. A number of aspects of this work distinguish it from previous or current efforts. Firstly, current crop-climate research will be extended by developing new mechanistic crop models, improving the performance of existing crop models in extreme elimatie conditions, considering elimate change impacts on yield quality as well as general erop physiology and identifying the strehgths and weaknesses of crop models based on inter-model comparisons. Secondly, the development of methods for applying mechanistic crop models at a hierarchy of scales will ensure a full evaluation of the effects of elimate change on regional, national and continental agricultural production. Effects on regional cropping systems will be modelled to identify sensitive areas and assess the sustainability of agricultural systems across Europe. Thirdly, a wide array of downscaled regional scenarios of combined changes in mean climate and climatic variability will be constructed using the latest transient general circulation models and high resolution limited area model experiments for Europe. A stochastic weather generator will be used to translate the GCM output into a form suitable for application with regional scale mechanistic crop models. Finally, a spatially integrated framework will be developed to aid scenario construction, model development and analysis/comparison of results. This will enable cross-sector and trans-European evaluations of climate change impacts: this proposal forms the European contribution to several global change programmes. A decision support system will be coupled to the impacts framework to facilitate a link between climate change impact models and economic/policy management models and to ensure that policy makers have access to clear summaries of state-of-the-art results to evaluate a range of appropriate management and policy options.