The Mediterranean basin is home to one of the most important population concentrations in the world. While this population is projected to increase during the next decades, especially in Southern countries of the basin, climate models predict for the present century a strong temperature increase that may exceed 5°C by the end of the 21st century, a precipitation decrease, and an increase in climatic extreme events across the entire basin. These factors combined together will inevitably add to the current stress on natural ecosystems of the region, perturb the water and carbon cycles of the basin, exacerbate the water scarcity and even complicate the access to food for an important proportion of the basin’s population. Extensive research efforts are therefore required to understand the response of both natural and managed ecosystems to human and environmental perturbations in this part of the world, and to tackle the potential climate change risks.
At EEWRC, our research efforts are oriented towards two major directions:
- Food security: within this topic, we attempt through statistical analyses and crop model simulations to understand the effect of climate change on crop yield across the Mediterranean basin and the effect of climatic extreme on yield of two major crops grown in the region (maize and wheat). Ultimately, we aim at contributing to reduce the substantial uncertainties that still affect assessments of climate change impacts on crop production. While our research focuses mainly on the “availability” dimension, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization definition of food security, we envision in the future to extend our analyses to the remaining dimensions, namely stability, access, and utilization.
- Natural terrestrial ecosystems: The projected changes in atmospheric composition and climatic conditions over the Mediterranean, including the increase in the frequency, intensity and duration of extreme climate events, could have dramatic effects on the life cycle of vegetation types found in the region, especially those that are currently grown at the rim of their natural distribution. This is expected to result in serious ramifications on ecosystem functioning and ultimately on societies. To explore the response of various aspects of terrestrial ecosystems response to environmental changes and the interactions among various ecosystem components, we use the IBIS (the Integrated BIosphere Simulator) dynamic vegetation model. A state-of-the-art ecosystem model that simulates within an integrated framework soil and canopy physics and plant physiology, plant phenology, vegetation dynamics, and soil biogeochemistry. Currently, we run this model at a 25km x 25km spatial resolution.
|CyI People:||M. El Maayar, M. Lange|