MULTISCALE CLIMATE VARIABILITY: AGRONOMICAL AND ECONOMIC IMPACTS

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CGL2012-38923-C02-02 MINISTRY OF ECONOMY AND COMPETITIVENESS

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GOVERNMENT OF SPAIN

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MULCLIVAR is a coordinated project by TROPA-UCM-IGEO and AgSystems-CEIGRAM-UPM, in the frame of CEI Moncloa, with a common goal: Improve the understanding of climate impacts at multifarious timescales. 

  • The subproject ODYN deals with the ocean influence on climate variability at interannual to multidecadal timescales with a focus on the Euro-Atlantic and West African regions. It is known that tropical oceans have a strong impact on global climate. Therefore, a better understanding of the air-sea interactions in these regions will improve the knowledge on climate variability and predictability, considering both low-frequency (LF) and high-frequency (HF) signals.
  • The subproject ACER-Agro  examines the agro-economic impacts of climate variability and anthropogenic climate change on cropping systems in the Iberian Peninsula. Crop yield variations caused by climate have obvious impacts on farm economies, agricultural markets and food security. In the current context European reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and crop insurance will likely adjust the economic incentives of farmers, thus affecting their current practices to accomplish future adaptation strategies.

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Previous studies from the Tropical Atlantic Variability Group (TROPA) have shown how different climate variability phenomena, e.g., the Atlantic and Pacific Niños connection, El Niño's impact in the Sahelian and Euro-Mediterranean rainfall and the basic properties of explosive cyclones, behave differently depending on the analyzed time period. This apparent non-stationary behavior seems to be caused by low frequency changes of the ocean circulation, including natural oscillations such as the Pacific Decadal (PDO) and the Atlantic Multidecadal (AMO) oscillations, as well as the anthropogenic Global Warming (GW) signal in the ocean. A question of prime interest is to elucidate how these multidecadal changes interact with the interannual variability in the tropics and extratropics, and how models can reproduce both the high-frequency modes (e.g., interannual) and the low-frequency modulators (e.g., multidecadal). Global Coupled Circulation Models (GCMs) are not reliable yet in their assessment of multidecadal oscillations. Further analysis of observations and models should improve our understanding of the timescales operating in teleconnections, as well as interactions over the ocean-atmosphere coupled system. These results should improve the predictability of relevant phenomena (e.g., droughts, strong wind episodes) over tropical and extratropical regions.

In this context, MULCIVAR will identify the impact of interannual and decadal patterns of present and future climate on crop yield and exploitable yield gap for three major cropping systems (e.g., winter/summer cereals and olive). As a consequence, atmospheric variables related to teleconnection patterns affecting the Euro-Atlantic (e.g., weather extremes) sector will be coupled to impacts on yields during specific seasons and regions. Crop models will be improved by simulating heat stress, identified as a main hazard for summer crops. Adaptation strategies of agriculture for adverse current and future scenarios will consider new CAP and insurance policies, analyzing whether these will facilitate farmers' adaptation to future climate. A better understanding of the actuarial unbalance of winter cereal insurance and the reasons of low insurance penetration rates among olive growers are needed. Results will be synthesized in a new version of AGROCLIMA-Scientific Support to Policies tools.