Global warming is occurring at a greater pace in the Mediterranean regions than in other parts of the world, in particular for countries in the south and east of the basin, inducing marked changes in temperatures and precipitation.
MISTRALS was managed by CNRS-INSU ( The National Institute of Universe Sciences ) and funded by ADEME ( Ecological transition agency ), CEA ( French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energy Commission ), INRAE ( National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment ), CNRS ( Scientific Research National Center ), IFREMER ( French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea ), IRD ( Research Institute for Development ), Météo-France.
More than 1000 scientists participate in different parts of this program, from different nationalities around the Mediterranean and spanning a great variety of scientific domains including marine and terrestrial ecosystems, climate, geology, agriculture, freshwater availability, economics, and sociology.
The MISTRALS focused on studying the Mediterranean basin and its environment to better understand the impact of global changes in this particular region and to anticipate its evolution over a century.
Data suggest an increasing intensity and variability of climatic extremes for the twenty-first century and an increasing number of events and duration of very long dry spells together with their spatial spread. Changes are the most likely to occur in regions of North Africa, Southern Spain, and the Middle East, which are already among the most arid regions in the Mediterranean basin.
Thus, for agricultural sector, and among the different productions in Mediterranean, wine grape is a dominant economic sector in particular in France, Italy, and Spain. The program analysis showed that that grape vine production is likely to be negatively impacted regardless of the maintained level of warming, with an important reduction of quality caused by dryness during the growing season, and also the raising of plant’s water requirements.
Also, a review of the vulnerability of countries located in North Africa – from Morocco in the east to Egypt in the west – to climate change was provided, based on the exposure to these changes, water resources, and adaptation capacity. The analysis revealed various degrees of resilience to climate change depending on the countries socio-economic context.
For these semi-arid water-limited basins, the precipitation changes and increasing evapotranspiration rate would have significant impact on water availability by reducing surface water resources.
Overall, the combination of climate change effects with population growth is a major challenge for these countries in the upcoming years, which could become indirect drivers of social instability.