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Etoiles de l'Europe 2017

Improving simulation of the impact of extreme weather on agriculture

In a context of climate change, the systems used to forecast agricultural yields in the event of extreme weather conditions in terms of temperature or rainfall need to be particularly reliable and efficient. The European MODEXTREME1 project, led by INRA between 2013 and 2016, was able to improve the systems used to model and simulate the impacts of these phenomena on arable crops, fruit trees and grasslands. The project team for MODEXTREME was one of the 12 winners of the Étoiles de l’Europe awards given at a ceremony organised by the French Ministry for Higher Education, Research and Innovation on 4 December 2017.

Updated on 12/21/2017
Published on 12/05/2017

As one of the causes of food insecurity, the climate component plays a crucial role. Extreme weather events can occur randomly during complex changes to atmospheric and oceanic currents. Recent scientific studies have predicted a future increase in the frequency and intensity of these phenomena which impact farming systems, industrial activities and human populations.

Funded in the context of the 7th European Framework Programme (FP7), the MODEXTREME project (2013-2016) aimed to improve the agricultural simulation models used to quantify the response of vegetation to extreme weather events (heatwaves and cold snaps, long periods of drought, severe frosts). To address these modelling challenges, the MODEXTREME project led by INRA federated 18 European partners from 14 countries, working in direct interaction with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development.

MODEXTREME mobilised scientists from a variety of disciplines (plant physiology, agronomy, climatology, informatics, etc.) who studied a broad range of farmed plant species. Their work led to:

- the development of indicators to detect extreme events;
- formalisation of the impacts of these meteorological phenomena on agricultural yields, thus improving the simulation models used;
- integration of these tools in the forecasting and early warning systems operated by the European Commission.

Thanks to the development of operational and innovative computer systems, MODEXTREME is thus enhancing the ability of the European forecasting and early warning system to deal with extreme meteorological events. This project should notably enable the local implementation of adaptation plans to enable sustainable agriculture through the design and dissemination of risk management tools linked to warning systems.

Phenotyping platform designed to study the vulnerability of grassland populations to extreme climatic conditions such as drought at UREP (Grassland Ecosystem Research Unit). Phenotyping platform; single grassland species grown in containers. © INRA, TOILLON Sylvie
Phenotyping platform designed to study the vulnerability of grassland populations to extreme climatic conditions such as drought at UREP (Grassland Ecosystem Research Unit). Phenotyping platform; single grassland species grown in containers © INRA, TOILLON Sylvie

1MODelling vegetation response to EXTREMe Events: http://modextreme.org

Contact(s)
Scientific contact(s):

Press Relations:
INRA News Office (33 (0)1 42 75 91 86)
Associated Division(s):
Forest, Grassland and Freshwater Ecology
Associated Centre(s):
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes