EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Contrasting farmers’ perception of climate change and climatic data: How (in)consistency supports risk reduction and resilience?

Sandra Ricart1, Claudio Gandolfi2, and Andrea Castelletti1
Sandra Ricart et al.
  • 1Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering, Politecnico di Milano, Milano, Italy (;
  • 2Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Milan, Milano, Italy (

Farmers’ adaptation to climate change is a two-step process that involves perceiving stressors and identifying impacts to respond to variability and changes through specific actions and strategies. Hence, successful adaptation depends on how well changing climate is perceived, either from a ‘bottom-up’ pathway –where farmers observe and identify changes through past experience–, or by using a ‘top-down’ pathway –where changes are identified through climate records. A gap between both pathways tends to be related to farmers’ misperception. For example, as life experiences influence perception, farmers who have been directly affected by extreme climatic events tend to report that the probability of such event happening again is relatively high. Furthermore, as perception is in part a subjective phenomenon, therefore, different farmers in the same locality might construct different perceptions of climate change impacts even though they experience the same weather patterns. Consequently, increased attention has been put on combining the ‘civic science’ of farmers’ perceptions with the ‘formal science’ from meteorological reports to identify the (in)consistency between perceived and observed data and how this affect farmers’ resilience when facing climate change impacts. This contribution provides a review comparing farmers’ perception and climate observations to address a twofold research question: 1) Which extreme events and compound risks are perceived by farmers in contrast with observed data? And 2) How do past experiences and social-learning influence farmers’ resilience and their adaptive capacity? We analyze a portfolio of 147 articles collected from Scopus library catalogue since 2000. The bibliometrics analysis was coupled with the systematic review to 103 articles selected from the original portfolio. Comparison between perceived and observed changes were focus on what was changing (onset, duration or cessation regarding temperature and rainfall patterns) and how it was changing (amount, frequency, intensity or inter-annual variability). Results will be useful for managers, developers, and policymakers of climate adaptation strategies to be more in tune with farmers’ understandings of when and how weather is changing. Furthermore, the review could generate recommendations for the design, formulation, and implementation of adaptation policies that are better tailored to farmers’ perception at local conditions, being more efficient and conducive to risk analysis when facing climate change.

How to cite: Ricart, S., Gandolfi, C., and Castelletti, A.: Contrasting farmers’ perception of climate change and climatic data: How (in)consistency supports risk reduction and resilience?, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-976,, 2022.


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