Agricultural Science

Crop yields expected to fall as temperatures rise

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Science  08 Sep 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6355, pp. 1012-1013
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6355.1012-f

Climate change may reduce the yields of many cereal crops, including rice.

PHOTO: LUKCHAI CHAIMONGKON/SHUTTERSTOCK

Climate change will affect agriculture, but unfortunately predicting how is not simple. Zhao et al. combined four analytical methods to predict the impact of global temperature increases on the yields of four crops. The results consistently indicate that rising temperatures will lead to reductions in crop yields. An increase of 1°C would be more severe for global maize yield (7.4% decrease) than for rice (3.2% decrease), and decreases in maize yield in the United States would be twice those seen in India (10.3 and 5.2%, respectively). Although this work points to worrying consequences of a warming world, it remains very difficult to predict the cumulative impact of multiple factors related to climate change, such as elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and precipitation.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1701762114 (2017).

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