Possible Impacts of Climate Change on Mediterranean Irrigated Farming Systems
In the agricultural sector, climate change (CC) affects multiple weather variables at different stages of crop cycles. CC may influence the mean level or affect the distribution of events (e.g., rainfall, temperature). This work evaluates the economic impact of CC-related changes in multiple climatic components, and the resulting uncertainty. For this purpose, a three-stage discrete stochastic programming model is used to represents farm sector of an irrigated area of Italy and to examine the influence of CC on rainfall and on maximum temperature. These variables affect the availability of water for agriculture and the water requirements of irrigated crops. The states of nature, and their change, are defined more broadly than in previous analyses; this allows examining the changes of more climatic variables and crops cultivation. The effect of CC is obtained by comparing the results of scenarios that represent the climatic conditions in the current situation and in the future. The results show that the agricultural sector would seek to lower costs by modifying patterns of land use, farming practices and increasing the use groundwater. The overall economic impact of these changes is small and due primarily to the reduced availability of water in the future. The temperature increase is, in fact, largely offset by the effects of the increase in CO2 levels, which boosts the yield of main crops of the irrigated zone. Therefore, availability and water management becomes a crucial factor to offset the increase of evapotranspiration and of water stress resulting from the increase of temperature. However, the costs of CC are very high for some types of farming, which suffer a large reduction in income.
|Date of creation:||2011|
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