Although past April 2020 sunny and dry weather in Central Europe felt good for hikers and sunbathers, it is a repeat of the year 2018, which was too dry for most farmers, causing yield and quality losses in the food supply.
The EU Horizon 2020 project, STARGATE, pursues "Climate Smart Agriculture" to help European farming adapt to climate change. This begins with assessing the specific risks faced by farming in different European regions, looking at the interplay of climate change, local landscapes and ecosystems, and the current local cropping systems. Of course, future climatic conditions in Central Europe are now already normal for other regions further south or elsewhere: this means that farming practises developed there could then be transferred, to ensure a more rapid adoption of practices and technologies, and thereby optimum use and conservation of natural resources.
In practice, Climate Smart Agriculture means modern farm management with good knowledge of the underlying ecological factors and the ability to plan ahead in changing circumstances. STARGATE just published its first newsletter which gives a good overview of these goals for the project.
meteoblue provides 16 STARGATE pilot regions with its rich historic weather data and develops methods to quickly assess patterns of local climate change. Building on the history+ climate risk assessment product, meteoblue designs new tools that will allow regional agencies to characterise local climate trends and find regions that have experienced similar climates in the past.
Working with practitioners in the STARGATE pilot regions, and in partnership with experts at partnering universities and companies, meteoblue is creating new ways to extract and analyse the available top precision historic weather information so it can help farmers adapt to changing climate conditions. Initial results show how climate change is expressed in for example frost frequency, growing degree days, soil water capacity, or cumulative precipitation.