The Impacts of Climate Change on Irrigated Agriculture in Southern Portugal

Rolim J, Teixeira JL, Catalão J, Shahidian S
Irrig. and Drain. 66:3–18 (2017),

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Climate change projections point to increasing air temperature and reduced precipitation in southern Portugal, which would affect farming systems. This study aims to assess the impacts of climate change on irrigated agriculture in southern Portugal. These impacts were assessed by combining climate model data with a soil water balance model and a numerical model for the design of irrigation systems. Meteorological data from two weather stations were used along with three climate models (HadRM3P, HIRHAMh and HIRHAMhh; 2071–2100). The crop rotations studied included sugar beet–maize–tomato–wheat and sunflower–wheat–barley. Two adaptation measures were considered: (i) maintaining the current crop varieties; (ii) using new crop varieties. The results from the considered climate change scenarios indicated that the impacts of climate change on irrigation requirements depend on the adopted adaptation measures. On average, the seasonal irrigation requirements increased by 13–70% when new crop varieties were used and by -13 to 7% when the current crop varieties were maintained. The impacts of climate change on irrigation system design were considerable, with the design flow rate increasing by 5–24%.