Scientists will this week warn that Italy may be forced to import the basic ingredients for pasta, its national food, because climate change will make it impossible to grow durum wheat.

In a report to be released by the Met Office tomorrow, scientists predict that Italy’s durum yields will start to decline from 2020 and the crop will almost disappear from the country later this century.

The report will say: “Projected climate changes in this region, in particular rising temperature and decreasing rainfall, may seriously compromise wheat yields.”

The warning is the latest example of the impact climate change could have on lifestyles and diets across Europe. It has emerged from the five-year Ensembles project, an EU-sponsored study straddling 66 research centres in 20 countries across Europe.

The project has been led by the Met Office which will host a conference to unveil its findings this week.

The aim was to combine the power of various super-computers used to predict climate by different research groups across Europe. This would enable the researchers to generate climate projections for particular countries and regions.

One element involved predicting how rising temperatures and changing rainfall might affect food production. Italy was chosen as a case study because it is a leading food producer and its southerly position means it is especially vulnerable to temperature rises.

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