As Europe’s climate shifts in the coming decades, some regions will find it increasingly difficult to sustain traditional crops. But with new varieties and strategies, some farmers are planting with an eye to the future.
With hotter summers, severe storms and prolonged dry spells in the forecast, the outlook for Europe’s farmers is daunting.
Average annual temperatures are expected to increase anywhere from 1 to 5.5 degrees Celsius (1.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit), with the strongest warming projected across the south of the continent in the summer months.
A September 2019 report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) noted that heat stress, extreme weather events like flash floods and hailstorms, and water shortages have already changed growing conditions for several crops in Europe — especially for Mediterranean staples like olives and wine grapes.