Adaptations to climate change

Adaptations to climate change in the agriculture can contribute to reduced effects of climate change on water quality. By increased and more intense precipitation and warmer temperatures, the pressure on water bodies will increase regarding both altered water discharge and increased risk for eutrofication and loss of pesticides. The risk of soil loss and reduced soil quality through erosion and soil compaction will also increase with climate change.

The report "Climate in Norway 2100" (Bauer-Hansen et al 2015), with new climate scenarioes for Norway, was published in 2015. The report emphasize  the fact that large uncertainties consists, thereby regarding how  the GHG emissions will change in the future. It is recommended to base the planning for the next 10 - 20 years on climate data from the period 1985 - 2014 instead of extrapolations.

We are currently facing more frequent extreme weather events with floods, landslides and increased erosion. The report outlines the following expected changes towards the end of this century:

  • Increased annual temperature with approx 4,5 °C (3,3 - 6,4°C ) at the highest GHG emission scenario
  • Increase in annual precipitation on approx 18 % (7-23 %) but this will vary between regions and seasons
  • Heavier and more frequent episodes of rainfall 
  • Fewer snow melting floods
  • Increased runnof during winter
  • Less or no snow in lowland areas

How will these climate changes affect the agriculture, and which measures can be done to reduce the impacts? NIBIO is working with these issues on several topics (choice of plants, plant diseases, pests etc.). We are in this guide focusing on measures which can reduce soil loss and pollution of water in a changing climate. Take also a look at the Climate change adaptation website from the Norwegian Environment Agency.


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Climate scenarios for Norway predict an increase in temperature, a longer growing season and more precipitation in most parts of the country (Hanssen- Bauer et al., 2015). More precipitation will likely have a negative effect on water quality because of the increased fluxes of nutrients like phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) into rivers and lakes. (Deelstra et al, 2011). Higher water temperatures are favorable to cyanobacteria, which could grow faster and create toxic waters. Even today, Norway experiences large problems related to heavy precipitation; for instance flooding, erosion, nutrient loss and damage to infrastructure. If precipitation continues to increase, the need for more or more effective mitigation measures in agriculture would become necessary.