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Title: Uncertainty in Simulating Wheat Yields Under Climate Change

Anticipating the impacts of climate change on crop yields is critical for assessing future food security. Process-based crop simulation models are the most commonly used tools in such assessments1,2. Analysis of uncertainties in future greenhouse gas emissions and their impacts on future climate change has been increasingly described in the literature3,4 while assessments of the uncertainty in crop responses to climate change are very rare. Systematic and objective comparisons across impact studies is difficult, and thus has not been fully realized5. Here we present the largest coordinated and standardized crop model intercomparison for climate change impacts on wheat production to date. We found that several individual crop models are able to reproduce measured grain yields under current diverse environments, particularly if sufficient details are provided to execute them. However, simulated climate change impacts can vary across models due to differences in model structures and algorithms. The crop-model component of uncertainty in climate change impact assessments was considerably larger than the climate-model component from Global Climate Models (GCMs). Model responses to high temperatures and temperature-by-CO2 interactions are identified as major sources of simulated impact uncertainties. Significant reductions in impact uncertainties through model improvements in these areas and improved quantification of uncertaintymore » through multi-model ensembles are urgently needed for a more reliable translation of climate change scenarios into agricultural impacts in order to develop adaptation strategies and aid policymaking.« less
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
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Journal Name: Nature Climate Change, 3:827-832
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States