EGU22-12103, updated on 18 May 2022
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The challenges of modelling mixed management grasslands in North Spain under climate change

Alfredo Rodríguez1, Iñigo Gómara2, Giani Bellocchi3, Raphael Martin3, Adela Martínez-Fernández4, Alfonso Carballal4, Jordi Doltra5, Agustín del Prado6, and Margarita Ruiz-Ramos7
Alfredo Rodríguez et al.
  • 1Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Department of Economic Analysis and Finances, Toledo, Spain (
  • 2Departamento de Física de la Tierra y Astrofísica, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
  • 3Grassland Ecosystem Research, French National Institute for Agricultural Research, INRAe
  • 4Servicio Regional de Investigación y Desarrollo Agroalimentario (SERIDA), Asturias
  • 5Centro de Investigación y Formación Agrarias (CIFA), Santander, Spain
  • 6Basque Centre for Climate Change
  • 7CEIGRAM, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

Permanent grasslands are a very relevant cropping system in the North of Spain and support the main dairy farms in the country. Adaptation to climate change will be required given the projected changes of regional precipitation. To support such adaptation, modelling of these systems to generate high quality projections of the system performance is required. In the region to be simulated, grasslands are managed with a mixture of cuts and grazing. Several issues hinder the modelling of this type of systems: 1) the available data of grazing intensity presents large uncertainties; 2) there are few grassland models that allows flexibility to define a variable combination of cuts and grazing; 3) soil heterogeneity. It follows, and expands to grazing, the exercise performed by Gómara et al. (2020), who used the Pasture Simulation model (PaSim) to simulate a mown permanent grassland in the French Massif Central.
The model was calibrated using data from Villaviciosa (Asturias, Spain, 5º 26' 27" W, 43° 28' 50" N, 10 m a.s.l.), located at northern Spain with a temperate climate. This calibration was used to simulate several grassland locations distributed along the Cantabrian Sea. The soil information was obtained from Trueba et al. (2000). The model was configured for the optimum management for mowing and nitrogen fertilization. The 1976-2005 period and the 2030-2059 period were selected. For the future period two representative concentration pathway emission scenarios (RCP, van Vuuren et al., 2011) were selected (i.e. RCP4.5 and RCP8.5). An ensemble of climate models will be used from the Coordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX, Giorgi and Gutowski, 2015) bias-adjusted by using the European observational database EOBS (Haylock et al., 2008) with the empirical quantile mapping method included in the climate4R R package (Iturbide et al., 2019). 
Modelling was challenging due to a combination of complexity (many processes involved) and uncertainty (observed data are difficult to generate). The results of the simulation exercise allow for assessing PaSim skill to reproduce the performance of these complex systems, as well as to determine the main weaknesses of the model and the observational/experimental required to improve the modelling work.

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How to cite: Rodríguez, A., Gómara, I., Bellocchi, G., Martin, R., Martínez-Fernández, A., Carballal, A., Doltra, J., del Prado, A., and Ruiz-Ramos, M.: The challenges of modelling mixed management grasslands in North Spain under climate change, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-12103,, 2022.

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