Climate plays a fundamental role in agriculture due to its direct and indirect influence on production. Each physical, chemical and biological process determining the agricultural activity is regulated by specific climatic requirements and any deviation from these patterns may exert a negative influence. Agriculture of developed countries, mainly oriented towards the production of high quality food, is prone to being subjected to meteorological hazard impacts because it is based on highly developed farming techniques. On the other hand, agriculture in developing countries can be strongly affected by weather conditions, responsible for dramatic reduction in yield and could lead to famines.
Finally, current and future trends of model outputs can be analysed to evaluate the hazard levels for agriculture and the possible consequences for natural resourc es due to climate change. Consequences in terms of production quality and quantity, biological and physical damages and seasonal changes can be mainly considered. Risk assessment can be carried out considering the sensitivity to climatic hazards of different agricultural systems, defining specific critical thresholds according to farming characteristics in agricultural areas. Based on this, possible modification of crop protection methods, irrigation programs, cultivation techniques, harvesting, storage and commercialisation strategies can be evaluated in conjunction with economic aspects. Climate change impact assessment is the first step for implementing support systems based on information technologies to disseminate advices and early warnings to the potential end-users.
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