The potential effects of future climate change on grain production of a winter durum wheat cropping system were investigated. Based on future climate change projections, derived from a statistical downscaling process applied to the HadCM3 general circulation model and referred to two IPCC scenarios (A2 and B1), the response on yield and aboveground biomass (AGB) and the variation in total organic carbon (TOC) were explored. The software used in this work is an hybrid dynamic simulation model able to simulate, under different pedoclimatic conditions, the processes involved in cropping system such as crop growth and development, water and nitrogen balance. It implements different approaches in order to ensure accurate simulation of the mainprocess related to soil-crop-atmosphere continuum.The model was calibrated using soil data, crop yield, AGB and phenology coming from a long-term experiment, located in Apulia region. The calibration was performed using data collected in the period 1978–1990; validation was carried out on the 1991–2009 data. Phenology simulation was sufficiently accurate, showing some limitation only in predicting the physiological maturity. Yields and AGBs were predicted with an acceptable accuracy during both calibration and validation. CRM resulted always close to optimum value, EF in every case scored positive value, the value of index r2 was good, although in some cases values lower than 0.6 were calculated. Slope of the linear regression equation between measured and simulated values was always close to 1, indicating an overall good performance of the model. Both future climate scenarios led to a general increase in yields but a slightly decrease in AGB values. Data showed variations in the total production and yield among the different periods due to the climate variation. TOC evolution suggests that the combination of temperature and precipitation is the main factor affecting TOC variation under future scenarios. Incorporation of crop residues had a positive effect, in the first 35 cm the amount of carbon increase with both the future scenarios.
climate change, grain production, cropping system, downscaling process