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Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999



Item #d97jun13

"Increased Australian Wheat Yield due to Recent Climate Trends," N. Nicholls (Bur. Meteor. Res. Ctr., Melbourne, Vic. 3000, Australia; e-mail: N., 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.

Item #d97jun14

"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.

Item #d97jun15

"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.)

Item #d97jun16

"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.

Item #d97jun17

"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.

Item #d97jun18

"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.

Item #d97jun19

"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 CO2 concentration.

Item #d97jun20

"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:, 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 agroecosystems.

Item #d97jun21

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), June 1996.

"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.

Item #d97jun22

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, 233-242.

"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.

Item #d97jun23

"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.

Item #d97jun24

"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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