European agrometeorological research needs

Agrometeorology has an important role in assisting national adaptation efforts in agriculture. Research needs can be identified in the following areas: agroclimate modelling, modelling of changes in soil- plant- water status and water resources (regional and local data to be merged with soil-plant-hydrological models and to improve the accuracy of the models). With respect to the observation of climate change trends there is a necessity of maintaining observation networks and use of improved methodologies, including remote sensing techniques in agrometeorological monitoring.

tte need for research on the vulnerability of European agriculture to climate change impacts is felt by many of the European States. Research is needed also about several specific issues, for instance water related climate change impacts on individual agriculture sectors, the quantification of impacts, the relationship between climate change impacts and land use, research into the long term use of recycled water in agriculture, and desertification.

European agrometeorology can also help to develop climate change mitigation and adaptation measures in agriculture and assess their effectiveness and efficiency (European Commission, 2000). For instance, research should help design tools that demonstrate the economic benefit of adaptation at the local scale and develop indicators for successful adaptation measures. Appropriate communication strategies are also necessary to ensure that farmers and farm advisory services are sufficiently informed about impacts and adaptation strategies to take the necessary actions.

In spite of intensive research in the field of climate change impacts on agriculture there are still many knowledge gaps and research needs with regard to impacts, vulnerability and adaptation options, ttere is a need for regional agrometeorological studies because impacts and adaptations vary strongly within Europe, tte following key questions remain:

• How will increasing CO2 concentration affect the overall water use and water use efficiency of various crops under European growing conditions?

• How will a change in climatic mean and variability affect the water use, crop yields and applicability of various adaptation options?

• What are the possibilities for optimising water use by shifting cropping seasons, changing crops and adopting water conserving practices?

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