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Climate change in Europe can be expected to affect the agricultural sector via the effect of changes in temperature and precipitation on crop yields. Agriculture would also be affected by some of the other sectoral impacts considered in the PESETA II report, notably droughts, forest fires, river floods and sea level rise. The PESETA II report features two separate studies considering the effect of climate on crop productivity, each using a different methodology.

Climate change 2020-2040 - Methodology

For this period, the CropSyst model of the JRC's BioMA platform was used to estimate yield changes with and without adaptation for two A1B climate outcomes ("warm" and "cold").

Climate change 2020-2040 - Main results and findings

The key finding for this period has been the influence of rainfall (rather than temperature) on crop yields in southern Europe. In general, adaptation (changes in sowing date and crop variety) is able to counteract climate-induced reduction in yield (see diagram below). However, in the "cold" scenario (Variant 2) yields fall in areas of southern Europe due to water limitations.

Change (%) in simulated water-limited yield with and without adaptation measures for winter wheat in 2020 and 2030 with respect to 2000

Climate change 2071-2100 - Methodology

Analysis for this period made use of the crop productivity modelling undertaken as part of the ClimateCost project (Iglesias et al., 2012). Yield changes were estimated using results from the DSSAT crop model for wheat, maize and soybeans.

Climate change 2071-2100 - Main results and findings

For this period, average yields are estimated to fall by around 11% in the Reference scenario without adaptation, though this includes a 20% increase in Northern Europe, smaller changes in Central Europe, and a 20% fall in the South. Under the 2°C scenario, average yields are estimated to remain unchanged, though with greater regional variation (yield increases in the North and falls in the South).


Donatelli M, Srivastava A, Fumagalli D, Zucchini A, Niemeyer S (2012).
Agricultural yields under Climate Change impact and Potential adaptation strategies at EU-27. Results of the PESETA II Project.
JRC Scientific and Policy Reports. Ispra, Italy, JRC78242.

Iglesias A, Garrote L, Quiroga, M, Moneo M, 2012.
A regional comparison of the effects of climate change on agriculture in Europe.
Climatic Change 112(1):29-46.

Shrestha S, Ciaian P, Himics M & Van Doorslaer B (2013).
Impacts of climate change on EU agriculture.
Review of Agricultural and Applied Economics 16(2): 24-39.