Adapting to Europe’s climate changes: drought management strategies

Adapting to Europe's climate changes: drought management strategies

In a new research paper, scientists have assessed the effects of the heat and drought from Europe’s climate changes on crops. There will be a need for heat and drought management strategies in the future.

Heat and drought as a result of Europe’s climate changes are expected to cause problems for crops such as maize and wheat. The new research identifies that adapting to the climatic changes will be necessary for food production. It is clear that heat and drought management strategies will be needed to achieve this.

The paper, titled “Diverging importance of drought stress for maize and winter wheat in Europe”, has been published in Nature Communications (2018).

Europe’s climate changes

To test the effects of Europe’s climate changes such as heat and drought on crop cultivation, the study says: “[We used] an ensemble of crop models applied on a spatial grid to quantify the contributions of various climatic drivers to past yield variability in grain maize and winter wheat of European cropping systems (1984–2009) and drivers of climate change impacts to 2050.”

Drought management strategies

The study argues that assessing the change to crop yields as a result of Europe’s climate changes is critical. It adds: “Improving global food security is critical given that over 800 million people remain food insecure and its association with conflict and civil unrest.”

The results of the study show that drought is the biggest problem related to Europe’s climate changes for farmers and plant breeders. It also found that drought is a bigger problem for maize than it is for wheat crop cultivation.

The study identified several drought management strategies which could be considered to alleviate the conditions caused by Europe’s climate changes.

These drought management strategies include:

  • Insurance solutions against specific weather risks;
  • Planning for long-term investments in irrigation infrastructure; and
  • Improving breeding effectiveness.
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