Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 1–16 | Cite as

Understanding the divergences between farmer’s perception and meteorological records regarding climate change: a review

  • Cristian Rogério FoguesattoEmail author
  • Felipe Dalzotto Artuzo
  • Edson Talamini
  • João Armando Dessimon Machado


How farmers perceive climate change is linked to whether they are responding and adapting to it. However, often this perception does not correspond with what actually happens. Based on a search of empirical studies carried out in Africa and Asia, this paper analyzes two factors that can influence farmers’ perception regarding climate change: expected utility maximization and availability heuristic. While expected utility maximization refers to an expected change in farmers’ well-being, the availability heuristic is a mental shortcut based on the memory of occurrence of events. Generally, empirical studies show that farmers’ perceptions are aligning with meteorological records regarding an increase in temperature. However, while there are no significant variations in rainfall trends, farmers perceive a reduction in rainfall in the last few years. The recent increase in drought frequency and severity may cause this divergence, because it affects farmers’ well-being, and extreme droughts have a central position in peoples’ memory. In this context, our findings suggest that farmers’ perceptions are influenced by economic and psychological issues. Policymakers, extension workers and developers of climate projects need to pay attention to farm and farmers’ characteristics in order to develop mitigation and/or adaptation practices regarding climate change.


Agriculture Availability heuristic Climate risk Expected utility theory Drought Global warming 



We are grateful to Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq). We wish to thank the valuable suggestions of Professor João Augusto Rossi Borges in an earlier version of this study. We also are sincerely grateful for the comments of all anonymous reviewers. Certainly their notes contributed a lot to the improvement of this paper.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cristian Rogério Foguesatto
    • 1
    Email author
  • Felipe Dalzotto Artuzo
    • 1
  • Edson Talamini
    • 1
  • João Armando Dessimon Machado
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro de Estudos e Pesquisas em AgronegóciosUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil

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