Simulation of crop productivity and responses to climate change in the year 2030: the role of future technologies, adjustments and adaptations

Mary S. McKenney, William E. Easterling, Norman J. Rosenberg

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16 Scopus citations


Advances in agricultural technology may affect the response of crop yields to a future climate change induced by greenhouse warming. We illustrate a methodology for simulating these effects by manipulating the parameters of a crop simulation model erosion productivity impact calculator (EPIC) to represent a set of proposed future technologies. Sensitivity analyses were first performed to test the effect of changes in each of the parameters individually. Crop yields were then simulated with a set of these future technologies under the climate of the 1951-1980 period (the 'control' climate) and under the climate of the 1930s (used as an analog of climate change), for locations in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas (MINK). The future technologies increased yields by an average of 72% above current levels, but had little effect on the sensitivity of crop yields to climate change. Next, realizing that attempts will probably be made to adjust farming practices to a changed climate, we implemented a set of changes which represent both currently available strategies for coping with the analog climate as well as new techniques which might be developed in response to a hotter, drier climate. With these changes in place, both yields and water use were less affected by the analog climate. If the direct effects of increased CO2 are also considered, yields of all crops but corn were equal to or greater than those that occur with no climate change. We also considered the economic feasibility of crop substitutions and shifts in the location of irrigated agriculture as adjustments to the analog climate. The final step in this analysis was to scale farm-level results to the regional level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-127
Number of pages25
JournalAgricultural and Forest Meteorology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 15 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Forestry
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Atmospheric Science


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