February 28, 2007
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Global Climate Change Digest
A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999
FROM VOLUME 10, NUMBER 6, JUNE 1997
IMPACTS ON AGRICULTURE
"Increased Australian Wheat Yield due to Recent Climate Trends,"
N. Nicholls (Bur. Meteor. Res. Ctr., Melbourne, Vic. 3000, Australia; e-mail: N.
Nicholls@BoM.Gov.au), Nature, 387(6632), 484, May 29, 1997.
Estimates the contribution of climate trends in Australia to the substantial
increase in wheat yields there since 1952, after removing non-climatic
influences such as new cultivars and changes in crop management. Climate trends
appear to be responsible for 30-50% of the observed increase in wheat yields,
with increases in minimum temperatures being the dominant influence. The
approach should be applicable in other regions where sufficient data exist.
"Mean and Viariance Change in Climate Scenarios: Methods,
Agricultural Applications, and Measures of Uncertainty," L.O. Mearns (NCAR,
POB 3000, Boulder CO 80307), C. Rosenzweig, R. Goldberg, Clim. Change,
35(4), 367-396, April 1997.
Few scenarios formed for climate change impact analysis have considered
detailed, explicit changes in variability. Here the authors continue the work of
Mearns et al. to determine the importance of including both mean and variability
changes in climate change scenarios in an agricultural context, using a
stochastic weather generator and the CERES-Wheat model. These three key factors
contributed to crop response: (1) the marginality of the current climate for
crop growth; (2) the relative size of the mean and variance changes; and (3) the
timing of these changes.
"Use of a Stochastic Weather Generator in the Development of Climate
Change Scenarios." (See PROF. PUBS./IMPACTS/METHODOLOGY, this Global
Climate Change Digest issue--June 1997.)
"World Agriculture and Climate Change: Current Questions," R.
Darwin (U.S. Dept. Agriculture, 1301 New York Ave. NW, ERS Rm. 408, Washington
DC 20005), World Resource Review, 9(1), 17-31, Mar. 1997.
Several important factors relating to climate change have not been
adequately simulated in global economic models, such as the effects on water
resources and agriculture, and the effects of higher concentrations of
atmospheric CO2 on plant growth and water use. This study considers these
factors as well as recently lowered estimates of temperature rise. Some results
are that a commonly used method of adjusting current precipitation with data
from general circulation models may result in upwardly biased estimates of
precipitation, and that CO2 fertilization is not likely to be as economically
beneficial as indicated by past research.
"Effects on Temperature Rise and Increase in CO2 Concentration on
Simulated Wheat Yields in Europe," S. Nonhebel (Ctr. for Energy &
Environ. Studies-IVEM, State Univ. of Groningen, Nijenborgh 4, 9747 AG
Groningen, Neth.), Clim. Change, 34(1), 73-90, Sep. 1996.
Used a crop growth simulation model to simulate potential and water-limited
crop production under conditions including a 3° ;C temperature rise and
doubled CO2. If no major changes in precipitation pattern occur, CO2-induced
climate change is not likely to cause major changes in wheat production because
negative effects of a rise in temperature are counterbalanced by positive
effects of higher CO2 levels.
"Climate Change and Agriculture in China," B. Smit (Dept.
Geol., Univ. Guelph, Guelph ON N1G 2W1, Can.), C. Yunlong, Global Environ.
Change, 6(3), 205-214, July 1996.
Synthesizes information from numerous studies on Chinese agriculture and
climate. Historical studies document the impacts of past climate changes and
extremes and the types of adjustments that have occurred. Climate change
scenarios are assessed relative to the current distribution of agro-climatic
regions and farming systems. Notwithstanding the yield enhancing effects of
warming and elevated CO2 levels, expected moisture deficits and uncertain
changes in the timing and frequency of critical conditions indicate there are
serious threats to the stability and adaptability of food production in China.
"Effects of Changes in Minimum and Maximum Temperature on Wheat
Yields in the Central US. A Simulation Study," C. Rosenzweig, F.N. Tubiello
(NASA Goddard Inst. Space Studies, 2880 Broadway, New York NY 10025), Agric.
& Forest Meteor., 80(2-4), 215-230, July 1996.
Investigated the importance to future wheat yields of the predicted pattern
of a marked asymmetry between daytime maxima and nighttime minima, using a
modification of the CERES-Wheat model. Negative effects of temperature on yield
are reduced when minima increase more than maxima. Yield changes are
consistently negative under temperature change and current CO2 concentration,
while they range from positive to negative under temperature change and elevated
"Elevated Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide in Agroecosystems Affects
Groundwater Quality," H.A. Torbert (Soil & Water Res. Lab., USDA-ARS,
808 E. Blackland Rd., Temple TX 76502; e-mail: email@example.com), S.A.
Prior et al., J. Environ. Qual., 25(4), 720-726, July-Aug. 1996.
For two years, examined the effects of a legume (soybean) and a nonlegume
(grain sorghum) under CO2 enrichment on nitrate movement below the root zone
(leaching into groundwater) in loamy sand over a two-year period. The results
indicate that retention of N in organic pools because of elevated atmospheric
CO2 could reduce the nitrate concentration in groundwater beneath
Special issue. ADAPTING NORTH AMERICAN AGRICULTURE TO CLIMATE
CHANGE, Agric. & Forest Meteor., W.E. Easterling, Guest
Editor (Dept. Agric. Meteor., Univ. Nebraska, Lincoln NE 68583), 80(1),
"Introduction," W.E. Easterling, ix-xi. In 1993, the U.S. Office
of Technology Assessment published Preparing for an Uncertain Climate,
for which the author prepared a review of the expected potential of U.S.
agriculture to adapt to climate change without a loss of comparative advantage.
The following three papers take stock of the research in this area, draw
conclusions from it, and suggest new research directions (particularly in the
economic assessment of adaptability).
"Adapting North American Agriculture to Climate Change in Review,"
W.E. Easterling, 1-53. A broad overview of the current literature. The
adaptative potential of agriculture is demonstrated historically with situations
analogous to climate change. Analyzes climate-related and non-climate-related
factors that will influence the vulnerability of North American agriculture to
climate change, from the farm level to changes in dynamics of regional trade
flows. Gives numerous examples of agronomic and economic adaptations, and
suggests future research directions. Climate change should not pose an
insurmountable obstacle to North American agriculture. The efficiency with which
adaptation is likely to occur provides little inducement for diverting
agricultural adaptation resources to efforts to slow or halt climate changes.
"Climate Impacts on Aggregate Farm Value: Accounting for Adaptation,"
R. Mendelsohn (School of Forestry & Environ. Studies, Yale Univ., New Haven
CT 06511), W. Nordhaus, D. Shaw, 55-66. Discusses a new application of the
Ricardian method, which compares actual farmer behavior across different
climates and incorporates farmer adaptations. Estimates how climate affects both
the per acre value of farms and how much land is farmed.
"Methodological Issues in Assessing Potential Impacts of Climate Change
on Agriculture," J.M. Antle (Dept. Agric. Econ., Montana State Univ.,
Bozemen MT 59717), 67-85. Examines the question of modeling agricultural
adaptability with a farm-level approach that represents land-use and
crop-specific management decisions, in relation to spatial and temporal
variation in several factors.
Special issue: CLIMATE CHANGE-FROM IMPACT TO INTERACTION, D.K.L.
Mackerron, Guest Editor (Scottish Crop Res. Inst., Ingowrie, Dundee DD2 5DA,
Scotland, U.K.), Agric. & Forest Meteor., 79(4), May 1996.
Consists of articles based on presentations from the Conference on the
Effect of Climate change on Agriculture and the Rural Economy (Dundee,
Scotland, Jan. 1994). The symposium marked the completion of projects begun in
1990 by the Scottish Office of Agriculture and Fisheries Department that were
primarily designed to establish the extent to which the sensitivity of the
agricultural system to change could be estimated from current knowledge.
"A Simulation Study of Crop Growth and Development under Climate
Change," D.R. Peiris, J.W. Crawford (Cellular & Environ. Physiol.
Dept., Scottish Crop Res. Inst., Invergowrie, Dundee DD2 5DA, UK), et al.,
271-287. Modeled the impact of climate change in Scotland on faba or field bean,
potato, and spring and winter wheat for various sites and soils, and scenarios
of future climate which combined temperature and rainfall changes but did not
consider enhancements of CO2 fertilization.
"Effects of Elevated Carbon Dioxide Concentrations on Agricultural
Grassland Production," M.B. Jones (Dept. Botany, Trinity College, Univ.
Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland), M. Jongen, T. Doyle, 243-252. Used open-top chambers
to investigate long-term responses of elevated CO2 by field-grown perennial
ryegrass (Lolium perenne). Doubled CO2 increased harvestable yield by
20% but this was not constant through the growing season nor from one season to
the next. Climate change in the next century will likely lead to significant
increases in agricultural grassland production in northern Europe.
"Implications of an Altered Climate for Forage Conservation," G.
Cooper, M.B. McGechan (Scottish Ctr. of Agric. Eng., SAC, Penicuik EH26 0PH,
UK), 253-269. A modeling study shows that currently predicted climate change
over the next 30 years will increase the yield of forage crops from higher
summer rainfall, particularly in east Scotland, where grass growth is most
constrained by water shortages in the present climate. Higher summer
temperatures will lead to faster drying rates, but these will be counterbalanced
by more spoilage from higher summer rainfall.
Other titles in this issue:
"The Influence of Climate on CO2 and CH4 Emissions from Organic Soils,"
S.J. Chapman, M. Thurlow, 205-218.
"Modelling Daily Weather with Multivariate Time Series," D.R.
Peiris, J.S. McNicol, 219-232.
"Effect of Temperature on the Incidence of Nodal Foot Rot Symptoms in
Winter Wheat Crops in England and Wales Caused by Fusarium culmorum and
Microdochium nivale," T.R. Pettitt, D.W. Parry, R.W. Polley,
"Modelling Faba Bean Production in an Uncertain Future Climate,"
Y. Gu, J.W. Crawford et al., 289-300.
"Estimating Regional Crop Potential in Finland Under a Changing
Climate," T.R. Carter, R.A. Saarikko, 301 ff.
"Sensitivity of Russian Agriculture to Climate, Atmospheric
Chemistry, and Soil Fertility Changes," O.D. Sirotenko (Russian Inst.
Agric. Meteor.), E.V. Abashina, V.N. Pavlova, Russian Meteor. & Hydrol.,
No. 4, 68-73, 1995.
All factors studied (climate parameters, CO2 and tropospheric O3
concentrations, and soil degradation) have a strong effect on agricultural
productivity. Influences on the recurrence of very low climate-induced yields
are assessed. Under the arid-type version of warming, grain production as a
whole for Russia will be reduced to half of present levels.
"Critical Loads' Sensitivity to Climate Change," Environ.
Conserv., 22(4), 363-365, Winter 1995. (See PROF. PUBS./OF GEN.
INTEREST, Global Climate Change Digest, Mar. 1997.)
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Index of Abbreviations