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Research

THE FINALIZED PROJECT "CLIMAGRI" ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND AGRICULTURE

SUB-PROJECT 1
Climate Analysis and Future Scenarios

TOPIC 1.3
Construction of future climatic scenarios at high resolution for the study of their effect on Italian agriculture

RESEARCH CO-ORDINATOR
Gaetano Zipoli
Institute of Agrometeorology and Environmental Analysis for Agriculture (IATA- National Research Council)


PURPOSE OF THE RESEARCH
The Sub-Project “Climatic analysis and future scenarios” of CLIMAGRI intends to improve the comprehension of the response to the atmospheric system at the national scale in the framework of climatic change now and of their evolution in the next decades and, in particular, to quantify the potential impacts on Italian territory, therefore on agricultural activity through means of predicted variations of the main atmospheric parameters in the next decades. We must immediately face the impacts of climatic changes that occur now with mitigating actions. Otherwise, such impacts which are considered very serious at the international level, at times they have the potential of pushing national economies into crisis.

This topic of research will procure the data of scenarios of climatic change predicted for the future that are relative to national territory, which will be placed at the disposal of other participants in the project. Through the interaction with different research topics of the project, we will arrive at defining the risks associated with the climatic change. We will also be able to inform the institutions in charge of the strategic choices relating to the mitigation of climatic change and to agricultural planning and programming.

The planned activity concerns the collection of available data and the elaboration of the methodologies of data analysis of the climatological scenarios foreseen from a tested general circulation model, that of General Circulation Model (GCM) of Hadley Centre (HadCM3- of about 300 km of resolution), and, as far as is available to us, from a regional RCM (Regional Climate Model-of approximately 50 km of resolution). Then we will compare field data to the following parameters; air temperature at the ground level, rainfall, solar radiation (cloudiness), wind, relative humidity, potential evapotranspiration. The development of a scale reduction technique (“downscaling”) of the scenarios will allow for the transfer of quantitative information at the local scale and to generate all the data relative to the future climatic scenarios which are important for the Italian territory, and which will be placed at the disposal of all the participants of the project and of all the national structures involved in the issues of climatic change.


THE RESEARCH GOALS
The main objective of the present research topic is the creation, organization and distribution of the scenarios related to the climatic change foreseen at various spatial resolutions, determining uncertainties associated with it. What we mean by scenario is the result of analysing all factors pertinent to the national territory, relative to the climatological situation foreseen according to possible variations of the concentration of greenhouse gas.


DESCRIPTION OF THE THREE-YEAR RESEARCH

THE FIRST YEAR
A gathering of analysis of the detailed data currently available regarding two scenarios of gas emissions that alter climate, produced from a general circulation model (GCM of Hadley Centre) with the spatial resolution of about 300 km. This data will, at the least, refer to national territory and will cover the period from 1961 to 2099. The temporal details of the scenario data will be done at least on a daily basis.

From the grid points of the model relating to Italian territory for each scenario, a statistical analysis will be carried out to identify the average climatic values at the annual, seasonal and monthly level, for the period from 1961 to 2000, of: air temperature at the ground, rainfall, solar radiation (cloudiness), wind, relative humidity, and potential evapotranspiration.

Further, a series of corresponding values measured at the ground stations, both present in the Central Office of Crop Ecology (UCEA) database and in other institutes involved in the project, will be acquired.

The results of the large-scale model (GCM) will be verified in accordance with the comparison of climatology reproduced from the model with that of reality, through the appropriate statistical techniques. The appropriate statistical analysis of climatic anomalies relating to the scenarios under consideration will be carried out, predicted from the selected model, and considering the average value of the relevant variables at an annual, seasonal and monthly basis.

The preliminary data for the scenarios obtained in this way will be organized in an easy-to-use database and distributed by CD-Rom to other research groups operating within CLIMAGRI. This data will be further accessed through the connection to the CLIMAGRI Web Site planned in sub-Project 4. This activity, then, will be developed in close collaboration with the research unit in charge of disseminating data and the results of CLIMAGRI (Research topic 4.1)

We will start with the development of a scale reduction (“downscaling”) technique of scenarios, in order to transfer both quantitative information at the local scale and the first results of the application to 10 stations chosen by UCEA and pertaining to important agricultural areas.


THE SECOND YEAR
We will start the study on the use of the RCM model (Hadley Regional Climate Model) as an instrument of transferring quantitative information at the local scale, and then we will compare the different results obtained.

Collection of detailed information currently available relative to the RCM model inserted into the GCM at a spatial resolution of approximately 50 km.

At each grid point of the model relating to the Italian territory, a statistical analysis will be carried out for pinpointing climatic average values at the annual, seasonal and monthly scale , for the 1961-2000 period. It will consider: air temperature at ground level, rainfall, solar radiation (cloudiness), wind, relative humidity and potential evapotranspiration.

The results of the model at the regional scale will be verified through comparing the climatology reproduced with that of reality, through the appropriate statistical techniques.

Appropriate statistical analyses of climatic anomalies relative to the scenarios taken into consideration will also be carried out and predicted from the selected model. The average value of the relevant variable according to a ten-day period, annual, seasonal and monthly scale will be considered.

The preliminary data of scenarios obtained so far will also be distributed to other research groups within CLIMAGRI, as previously described.

We will begin with the simulation aimed at a scale reduction of the climatic scenarios in at least 30 stations chosen by UCEA and from other research topics.

The downscaling technique will be implemented in a software, elaborated and distributed to the research topics to be used with any other series of data available to them.


THE THIRD YEAR
Regionalized climatological analysis relating to the scenario of predicted climatic changes in Italian territory will be compared with historical series used for the analysing the obtained results. The aim here is to create a national atlas with predicted climatological scenarios.


INNOVATIVE ASPECTS
Sub-Project 1 within CLIMAGRI intends to improve the understanding and the quantification of the potential impacts of climatic change on the Italian territory, depending on the predicted variations of the main average and extreme atmospheric variables in the next decades.

Through the interaction of different research topics of the project, we will quantify the risks associated with climatic change and to inform the institutions in charge of strategic choices relating to the mitigation of climatic change and to agricultural planning and programming.

A relational database will be generated, comprising all the data relating to future climatic scenarios of interest to the Italian territory, which will be placed at the disposal of all the participants of the project and all the national structures concerned with the issues of climatic changes.

Scenarios at high resolution (approximately 50 km of resolution) will be generated by means of a Regional Climate Model and a technique of reducing the data scale (downscaling).

Flooding maps of the coastal areas will be produced according to various hypotheses of sea level rise.


TECNICO-SCIENTIFIC/SOCIO-ECONOMIC EFFECTS
Up until now, climatic change scenarios have not been available in a clear and definitive form for ascertaining the national territory that relate to the main atmospheric variables at the surface, and associated to related uncertainties.

We must immediately face the impacts of climatic changes that occur now with mitigating actions. Otherwise, such impacts which are considered very serious at the international level, at times they have the potential of pushing national economies into crisis.

Therefore these considerations intrinsically justify carrying out the proposed research. In addition, the research itself plays a central role within the Finalized CLIMAGRI Project. It constitutes one of the sources of basic agroclimatic data for the study of the impact of climate change on agriculture.

Other research projects of CLIMAGRI, in fact, will use detailed scenarios realized in this topic, which expects, among other things, indications for the improvement of production techniques and the distribution of data of climatic scenarios for the evaluation of the impact.


ESSENTIAL BIBLIOGRAPHY
  • Crisci A., Gozzini B., Grifoni D., Meneguzzo F., Zipoli G. & Maracchi G. 1998. "Extreme rainfalls at the regional scale: statistical analysis of time series and underlying large scale processes." Symposium on advances in regional climatology. Karlsruhe, Germany, 5-7 October 1998.
  • Crisci A., Gozzini B., Grifoni D., Meneguzzo F., Zipoli G., & Pagliara S. 1999. "Climatic variability and its impact on rainfall extremes and urban runoff design in Tuscany." Hydrological extremes: Understanding, Predicting, Mitigating. IAHS Publ. No. 255, 55-63.
  • Gozzini B., Crisci A., Meneguzzo F., Grifoni D., Rossi M. & Zipoli G.1998. "Derivation of statistical relationship between central western Mediterranean sea surface temperature anomalies and climatic features in Tuscany (Italy) on a monthly basis." Public records of ECAC, Vienna.
  • Maracchi G., Crisci A., Grifoni D., Gozzini B., Meneguzzo F. & Zipoli G. "Some features of climate variation in central Italy: need for a Mediterranean cooperation" Conference Impacts of Climate Change on the Mediterranean Countries, Metsovo, Greece, 2-4 September 1998.





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