Assessing the impact of climate change on crop yields in Europe

Monica Ortiz

Where are they now? Grantham Scholars after they graduate

Since graduating, Monica works at UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources. There she continues her work on biodiversity, agriculture and trade.

She currently has a few manuscripts under review on how we can understand the impacts of what we consume on other species. One is on the impacts of banana plantation agriculture on biodiversity in the Philippines. Another looks at minimising the risks of these systems to climate extremes through agroecological practices which are also supportive of biodiversity.

Stay up to date with Monica at her website.

Monica’s research at the Grantham Centre

This project aims to predict how climate change will affect wheat production in Europe.

The problem

Rising greenhouse gas emissions lead to changes in our climate. This includes more variability in temperature, rainfall, and extreme climate events like droughts, storms and floods.

Agriculture is vulnerable to climate change, which threatens future food production. In Europe, wheat is one of the most important staple foods. Wheat is also a major part of agriculture in terms of planted land, resources, economics, and culture.

The project

Instead of field experiments, climate and crop models will be used together to predict how different future scenarios in Europe will affect wheat yield.

Climate models represent our most current scientific understanding of the atmosphere. Crop models simulate how plants grow in different weather and climate, with varying genetics, soil and other biological factors. Predictions of yields support policymakers and farmers in adapting to climate change. Information on future yields may also be useful to motivate research in breeding crops that are adapted to future climate, and bolster efforts to mitigate greenhouse gases, which have adverse effects on our food and planet.

Outreach and impact

Monica is a great example of how academics use outreach to spread the environmental message.

In her last blog before graduating, Monica tells us about the next generation of environmental thinkers – kids.

Read: The next generation of environmental thinkers

In another blog, Monica reflects on how a changing climate is affecting women around the world.

Read:  Gender, climate change and food security

Monica Ortiz