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Vulnerability of UK agriculture to extreme events - AC0301

Global warming is likely to bring more variable climate with increased probability and magnitude of extreme weather events. Extreme events, such as late spring frost or windstorm, may cause crop failure. Future climate may also increase occurrence of extreme impacts on crops, e.g. weather conditions resulting in substantial reduction in yield and quality (for example severe drought or prolonged soil wetness). Our project aims to fill the knowledge gaps relating to the occurrence of extreme events, whose frequency and spatial patterns are likely to change as a consequence of climate change, and crop production in the UK.

The key physiological and physical sensitivities for a range of representative UK crops will be systematically reviewed. The crops will include a winter and spring cereal, oilseeds, potatoes, sugar beet, a leaf vegetable, a pulse, a fodder crop, a biomass crop, top fruit and a protected crop. The potential for pests, diseases and weeds prevalent in other climatic regions, to become significant in the UK will also be evaluated. The weather patterns that might lead to an impact on pest, disease and weed pressures will be investigated.

We will use modelling approach to detect extreme weather events under climate change and investigate their impacts on agricultural crops. Sophisticated mathematical models for future climate and weather will be used to construct climate scenarios, suitable for agricultural applications and analysis of extreme events. State-of-the-art crop simulation models of reproductive and vegetative crops will help to identify weather conditions that result in a significant reduction of yield and quality or considerable environmental impacts.

The project will draw on the expertise and experience of Rothamsted Research and Warwick HRI in an interdisciplinary approach involving experts in physiology, agronomy, crop protection, crop and climate modelling.
This project aims to fill knowledge gaps relating to crop production in the UK and extreme weather events as a consequence of climate change. Particular objectives are:

1. To develop a set of high resolution daily UKCIP02-based climate change scenarios, suitable for analysis of agricultural extreme events;

2. To identify climatic thresholds having severe impacts on yield, quality and environment for representative crops and to assess the risks that these thresholds will be exceeded under climate change;

3. To analyse extreme weather impacts on reproductive and vegetative crop yields, using crop simulation models;

4. To identify knowledge gaps on physiological sensitivities, potential pest, disease and weed threats linked to extreme weather and to propose approaches to reduce the impact of extreme weather events.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Vulnerability of UK Agriculture to Extreme Events - FINAL REPORT   (3873k)
• Final Report - Annex : Annex 1   (91k)
• Final Report - Annex : Annex 2   (71k)
• Final Report - Annex : Annex 3   (73k)
• Final Report - Annex : Annex 4   (353k)
• Final Report - Annex : Annex 5   (850k)
• Final Report - Annex : Annex 6   (224k)
• Final Report - Annex : Annex 7   (356k)
• Final Report - Annex : Annex 8   (4003k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2006

To: 2008

Cost: £214,618
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Warwick - HRI, Rothamsted Research (BBSRC)
Allocated - WHRI              
Biomass Crops              
Climate and Weather              
Climate Change              
Environmental Protection              
Global Warming              
Peer Review              
Pest and Weed Control              
Sustainable Production              
Fields of Study
Agriculture and Climate Change