Articles | Volume 11, issue 12
Research article
12 Dec 2011
Research article |  | 12 Dec 2011

Impacts of projected maximum temperature extremes for C21 by an ensemble of regional climate models on cereal cropping systems in the Iberian Peninsula

M. Ruiz-Ramos, E. Sánchez, C. Gallardo, and M. I. Mínguez

Abstract. Crops growing in the Iberian Peninsula may be subjected to damagingly high temperatures during the sensitive development periods of flowering and grain filling. Such episodes are considered important hazards and farmers may take insurance to offset their impact. Increases in value and frequency of maximum temperature have been observed in the Iberian Peninsula during the 20th century, and studies on climate change indicate the possibility of further increase by the end of the 21st century. Here, impacts of current and future high temperatures on cereal cropping systems of the Iberian Peninsula are evaluated, focusing on vulnerable development periods of winter and summer crops. Climate change scenarios obtained from an ensemble of ten Regional Climate Models (multimodel ensemble) combined with crop simulation models were used for this purpose and related uncertainty was estimated. Results reveal that higher extremes of maximum temperature represent a threat to summer-grown but not to winter-grown crops in the Iberian Peninsula. The study highlights the different vulnerability of crops in the two growing seasons and the need to account for changes in extreme temperatures in developing adaptations in cereal cropping systems. Finally, this work contributes to clarifying the causes of high-uncertainty impact projections from previous studies.