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Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation - a Risk Based Approach - AC0310

Description
There are a growing number of reports on how climate change may affect UK farmers and the options for adaptation. These include CC0360: The value of case-studies in determining the impact of climate change & extreme events on agriculture in England & Wales; CC0361: Changes to agricultural management under extreme events - likelihood of effects and opportunities nationally (Chameleon). AC0301, Vulnerability of UK agriculture to extreme events. WU0101: Opportunities for Reducing Water use in Agriculture.

In general, these rely on predictions from UKCIP02 scenarios to identify changes in weather patterns or events that may have an impact on agriculture. Changes for the UK climate are predicted to involve seasonal and regional alterations in the pattern of temperature and rainfall. These include drier summers in the south and wetter winters in the north, with a net result of reduced rainfall on an annual basis. To translate these general predictions into a format that can be applied to specific cropping situations requires “weather generators” e.g. the LARS-WG1, a stochastic weather generator linked with UKCIP02 projections of future climate. These produce synthetic daily time series of maximum and minimum temperature and precipitation with high temporal and spatial resolution. The output from the weather generator can be used either to estimate the frequency of a defined set of circumstances known to have an impact on cropping, e.g. dry or waterlogged soil, or as inputs to models of crop scheduling or pest phenology/survival. These can then lead directly to estimation of risk. We used this approach in a previous project (AC0301) to evaluate the risk of several potential impacts on crop growth and development in wheat, sugar beet and some horticultural species.

In this follow-on project, we propose to build on previous work using the new UKCP09 probabilistic scenarios and apply them to a wider range of agricultural systems and impacts. Previous work by us and others has taken potential impacts and adaptations in isolation e.g. CC0361 analysed the potential impacts of 6 extreme weather conditions across the agriculture sector and identified several hundred possible adaptations. In neither AC0301 nor CC0361 was the risk and consequence of combinations of extreme weather events considered, although this will be a critical issue in estimating overall risk. We will address this in the new project by constructing a series of schematics identifying key stages in annual production systems for target crops or livestock that may be directly or indirectly susceptible (e.g. through pest and disease pressures) to climate variation or weather extremes and assemble findings from individual models to determine overall impact and risk associated with the target systems.

We propose to address the overall risks to production associated with future climate change by taking an approach based on specific case studies analysed across the annual farming cycle. Several key crops will be considered including wheat, potato, brassicas (vegetable and oilseed rape), protected crops, peas (as an example legume) and apple (as a woody species). We will also include sheep as an example of a livestock farming system.
Objective
7. (b) Objectives

Objectives
1 To construct a series of schedules identifying key stages in annual production systems for target crops or livestock that may be directly or indirectly susceptible to climate variation or weather extremes. (4 months)
2 To identify relevant models (crop, pest and disease, soil, energy) or thresholds for running against climate predictions. (5 months)
3 To run models to identify potential impacts and risks associated with climate change. (10 months)
4 Assemble findings from individual models to determine overall impact and risk associated with the target systems. (12 months)

Project Documents
• EVID4 - Final project report : evid4   (254k)
• FRP - Final Report : DEFRA Project AC0310 Final Report2   (6423k)
• ANX - Annex : AC310 Annex 1   (63k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2009

To: 2010

Cost: £128,333
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Warwick - HRI
Keywords
Agriculture              
Agriculture and Climate Change              
Arable              
Climate and Weather              
Climate Change              
Horticulture              
Sustainable Farming and Food Science              
Fields of Study
Agriculture and Climate Change