Conservation & sustainability, Studies

Modeling the effects of local climate change on crop acreage

Abstract: The impacts of climate change on agriculture depend on local conditions and crops grown. For instance, warmer winter temperatures in a given area would reduce chill hours, potentially cutting yields for some crops but extending the growing season for others. Using a century of climate data and six decades of acreage data, we established quantitative economic relationships between the evolution of local climate and acreage of 12 important crops in Yolo County. We then used the historical trend in climate change to project future crop acreages in the county. Only marginal changes in acreage in 2050 were projected for tree and vine crops there, in part because chill hours, although lower, remained above critical values. Walnuts were the most vulnerable tree crop, and the projections indicated some cultivars might be marginal in years with particularly warm winters. Processing tomato acreage might increase, due to a longer growing season, and also alfalfa acreage, if water availability and other factors remain constant.

See article here: Modeling the effects of local climate change on crop acreage

California Agriculture Volume 70, Number 1. JANUARY–MARCH 2016. By Hyunok Lee and Daniel A. Sumner.

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