Modeling the impacts of climate change and market integration on agricultural production and land use management in Austria

Mathias Kirchner details his YSSP project investigation of how climate change both directly and indirectly affects agricultural production, land use, and the bio-physical environment in Austria.

M. Kirchner

M. Kirchner


Climate change can affect agricultural production both directly (higher temperatures, CO2 concentration levels, precipitation patterns, extreme weather events) as well as indirectly (via its impact on global agricultural production patterns and thus global markets). We thus wanted to investigate how both these impacts affect agricultural production, land use, and the bio-physical environment in Austria.


The direct effects of climate change are assessed by an integrated modeling framework that builds highly stratified climate change impact chains of Austrian land use systems at a spatial resolution of 1 km by sequentially linking a climate model (ACLiReM), a crop rotation model (CropRota), a bio-physical process model (EPIC), and a price-exogenous bottom-up land use model (PASMA[pixel]). Moreover, the Global Biosphere Management Model (GLOBIOM) seeks a global partial equilibrium in allocating land-based activities by maximizing the sum of consumer and producer surpluses subject to resource endowments and several balance equations. Synergizing the strengths of PASMA[pixel] (i.e., detailed resolution) and GLOBIOM (i.e., global partial equilibrium) allows a detailed and consistent analysis of direct and indirect climate change impacts. Thus, we developed miniGalaxy to combine the strengths of both models. MiniGalaxy is a global PE model with the demand structure of GLOBIOM, but a simplified supply module. The supply module consists of a set of alternative production vectors produced by PASMA[pixel] and GLOBIOM through harmonized scenario analysis. The production vectors contain coded information on commodity outputs, production and adaptation costs, GHG emissions, resource requirements, etc., at an aggregate level compatible with the demand module. MiniGalaxy seeks a global equilibrium by maximizing the sum of producer and consumer surplus and building a convex combination of the coded production vectors.


The direct impacts of regional climate change scenarios to 2040 have already been assessed in PASMA[pixel]. We find that crop yield  increases in most scenarios (especially when precipitation increases). Higher yields lead to more intensive agricultural production, notably on arable land, and thus to increased mineral fertilizer usage and emissions. Further, the amount of irrigated land is highly sensitive to changes in precipitation patterns. The economic impact is small but positive. Whether the direct impacts are enhanced or mitigated by considering a global trade regime remains to be investigated.


Direct climate change impacts to 2040 seem to positively affect agricultural producer surplus in Austria but can increase pressure on some environmental indicators. Previous sensitivity analyses show that activity choices in PASMA[pixel] (e.g., fertilization) react very sensitively to changes in commodity prices. Hence, indirect climate change effects via the global market have the potential to enhance, mitigate, or even reverse the above impacts. Further analyses will thus consider this aspect. 


Mathias Kirchner, of the Doctoral School of the Institute for Sustainable Economic Development, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna, is an Austrian citizen. He received funding from IIASA's National Member Organization for Austria and worked in the Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM) Program during the YSSP.

Please note these Proceedings have received limited or no review from supervisors and IIASA program directors, and the views and results expressed therein do not necessarily represent IIASA, its National Member Organizations, or other organizations supporting the work.

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Last edited: 19 August 2015


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