Agriculture: ENEA should to shoulder with oil, wine and pasta producers against the effects of climate change


Olive oil, wine and pasta, key elements of the Mediterranean diet protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, will be able to count on the climate services developed by MED-GOLD, the main EU research project on climate and agriculture involving 16 partners in 6 different countries, including ENEA for global coordination and Barilla for pasta in Italy. The climate services offered enable the transformation of climate data and other information into trends, economic analyses, projections and tendencies on different time scales, from a few weeks to decades, and provide support for strategic decisions and the adoption of good practices in the agricultural sector.

"In four years, MED-GOLD has built a solid alliance between scientists and major companies to preserve the excellent food products on our tables from the impact of global climate change, involving major world players such as the Spanish DCoop for olive oil and the Portuguese Sogrape Vinhos for wine, as well as Barilla", explain the two ENEA coordinators of the project, Alessandro Dell'Aquila of the Climate Modelling and Impacts Laboratory and Luigi Ponti of the Laboratory of Sustainability, Quality and Safety of Agri-Food Production. "The services we offer", they add, "provide reliable, up-to-date and tailored information to support decision-making in the agri-food sector, making it more resilient to change”.

MED-GOLD services make it possible to predict the effect of climate change on three key Mediterranean crops: olive trees, vineyards and durum wheat. For example, thanks to a database that can be consulted through the easy-to-access, interactive MED-GOLD dashboard,[1] an olive grower can know which treatments will be needed against olive pests, how much oil they can produce during the next season or when to start irrigation. Similarly, short-, medium- and long-term projections of the main climatic factors are available to provide useful information for the winegrower who wants to know which vine variety is best suited for the climate in the next 30 years or the wheat producer who wonders about the impact of water erosion on the soil or the most suitable areas for future production.

"The socio-economic challenges posed by climate change require actions and tools for dynamic and sustainable adaptation that contribute to the 2050 mitigation targets and the 2030 sustainable development targets. In this context, sectoral climate services play a key role in offering users climate information tailored to their needs", explains Dell'Aquila. "An effective climate service supports adaptation decisions and actions, reduces risks, increases resilience and, when possible, turns climate change into an opportunity. In fact, MED-GOLD services are not only aimed at achieving higher and more stable yielding crops, but also more sustainable from an environmental, economic and social point of view", concludes the researcher.

To develop the platform together with the other project partners, ENEA involved users to ensure that it met their specific needs and expectations regarding the data needed to protect the three traditional Mediterranean crops. The dashboard[2] can be viewed after registering on the MED-GOLD portal or at

"The cultivation of olives, vineyards and wheat is strongly influenced by the weather and limited by the climate. Climate change is causing extreme events, such as heat waves and droughts, which have become a major challenge in recent years for olive, wine and grain growers, and for farmers in general", Ponti explains. "For example, 2014 was defined as a black year for Italian olive oil due to a very poor olive harvest, generalised across the country and mainly attributed to extremely abnormal weather conditions. At the time it was thought that terrible seasons such as that of 2014 – which had never been seen before – would not be repeated for a few decades. Unfortunately, similar situations for olive growing have arisen several times in the following years, and not only in Italy but also in other areas of the Mediterranean basin. As the climate will continue to change in the future, anticipating such events is crucial so that new agricultural practices do not become obsolete before they are even implemented", Ponti concluded.

"The tools developed are also designed to support the agricultural activities of the European Commission in the short and medium term. Specifically, part of the MED-GOLD durum wheat prototype has already been implemented in the crop yield monitoring and forecasting system of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre to support short-term agricultural prospects", observed the two ENEA researchers.

For more information:
MED-GOLD scientific coordination team:

Alessandro Dell'Aquila, ENEA - Climate Modelling and Impacts Laboratory,

Luigi Ponti, ENEA - Laboratory of Sustainability, Quality and Safety of Agri-Food Production,

Matteo De Felice, ENEA - Models and Technologies Division for the reduction of anthropogenic impacts and natural hazards, Sandro Calmanti, ENEA - Climate Modelling and Impacts Laboratory

Event programme


[1] Infographic:

[2] A video demonstrating the dashboard for the olive sector is available at the link

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