Publication: April 2023
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Executive summary: ESDEENFRIT
At a glance note: English
Authors: Oréade-Brèche: Alice DEVOT, Lucie ROYER, Elisa CARON GIAUFFRET, Vincent AYRAL Ramboll: Delphine DERYNG, Blandine ARVIS, Laetitia GIRAUD Ecologic Institute: Josselin ROUILLARD

Executive summary

This study examines how the experienced and projected increase of extreme weather and climate events throughout the EU territory impacts the agricultural production in the EU, hence triggering adaptive solutions by the sector and possible policy responses to make agriculture more climate-resilient. It provides an overview of the impacts of extreme weather events that can be associated with climate change and available solutions for the agricultural sector. It also examines to which extent the actual policy instruments pro-actively support the adaptation of the agricultural sector, both at EU and national levels and provides best practice examples drawn from case studies on how to further contain the adverse effects of climate change for agriculture.
Observed trends in the occurrence of extreme climate events and impacts on EU agricultural sector
Phenomena such as heatwaves, cold spells, heavy rains, storm surges, flooding, landslides, droughts, wildfires and intense storms (wind, hail) can be termed extreme events. When such phenomena occur simultaneously, they are referred to as compound events. Climate change may influence the frequency and severity of extreme events, this attribution being particularly clear-cut for heatwaves. Historical and projected trends in the occurrence and the severity of extreme events converge towards similar pictures: an increase in extremely hot summer temperatures over all of Europe, progressively drier conditions in the South of Europe, and an increase in heavy rainfall episodes in Northern and Central Europe. The magnitude of these increases is concerning. The number of climatological heatwave days will see at least a fivefold increase by the end of the century in the coolest climates, and up to thirty times more in warmer climates. Drought severity in Southern Europe could triple by the end of the century.
Losses specific to the agriculture sector account for more than 60% of drought-linked losses, or around €5 billion annually (based on Naumann et al, 2021). This is projected to increase in the future. Extreme events also have cascading consequences on ecological functions and on farming economics. Vulnerable sub-sectors include non-irrigated cereals, and specifically maize; fruit trees and perennials; tubers grown in regions with heavy precipitation extremes; and livestock for its dependence on green fodder.
Adaptation solutions for the agricultural sector to become more climate-resilient
To support farmers and maintain productivity, several adaptation options exist. “Top-down” adaptation options include risk management tools (insurance, mutual funds, hedging, or risk pooling), climate change observatories, and early warning systems implemented by local authorities. Farmers may also adapt autonomously (“bottom-up”) by adopting one or several adaptive strategies: income stabilisation by adhering to risk management schemes or diversifying revenue sources, resilience building through improvements to soil health and healthy functioning of the agroecosystems, or asset protection through investment in specific equipment (hail nets, greenhouses, irrigation, etc.)

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[At a glance] The impact of extreme climate events on agriculture production in the EU – Research4Committees · April 14, 2023 at 1:43 pm

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[Digest] Study presentation: The impact of extreme climate events on agricultural production in the EU – Research4Committees · April 28, 2023 at 8:22 am

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