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Irrigation offsets wheat yield reductions from warming temperatures

Published on Nov 1, 2017in Environmental Research Letters6.19
· DOI :10.1088/1748-9326/aa8d27
Jesse Tack9
Estimated H-index: 9
(KSU: Kansas State University),
Andrew P. Barkley15
Estimated H-index: 15
(KSU: Kansas State University),
Nathan P. Hendricks8
Estimated H-index: 8
(KSU: Kansas State University)
Cite
Abstract
Temperature increases due to climate change are expected to cause substantial reductions in global wheat yields. However, uncertainty remains regarding the potential role for irrigation as an adaptation strategy to offset heat impacts. Here we utilize over 7000 observations spanning eleven Kansas field-trial locations, 180 varieties, and 29 years to show that irrigation significantly reduces the negative impact of warming temperatures on winter wheat yields. Dryland wheat yields are estimated to decrease about eight percent for every one-degree Celsius increase in temperature, yet irrigation completely offsets this negative impact in our sample. As in previous studies, we find that important interactions exist between heat stress and precipitation for dryland production. Here, uniquely, we observe both dryland and irrigated trials side-by-side at the same locations and find that precipitation does not provide the same reduction in heat stress as irrigation. This is likely to be because the timing, intensity, and volume of water applications influence wheat yields, so the ability to irrigate—rather than relying on rainfall alone—has a stronger influence on heat stress. We find evidence of extensive differences of water-deficit stress impacts across varieties. This provides some evidence of the potential for adapting to hotter and drier climate conditions using optimal variety selection. Overall, our results highlight the critical role of water management for future global food security. Water scarcity not only reduces crop yields through water-deficit stress, but also amplifies the negative effects of warming temperatures.
  • References (18)
  • Citations (1)
Cite
References18
Newest
Published on Dec 1, 2016in Nature Climate Change21.72
Bing Liu6
Estimated H-index: 6
(UF: University of Florida),
Senthold Asseng42
Estimated H-index: 42
(UF: University of Florida)
+ 59 AuthorsJames W. Jones58
Estimated H-index: 58
(UF: University of Florida)
The impact of climate change on crop yield can be estimated using a variety of methods. Here, a multi-method ensemble is used to quantify ‘method uncertainty’ and improve overall confidence in projections of climate impacts on wheat yields.
Published on Nov 22, 2016in Frontiers in Plant Science4.11
Juan Alejandro Perdomo8
Estimated H-index: 8
(Rothamsted Research),
Elizabete Carmo-Silva8
Estimated H-index: 8
(Lancaster University)
+ 2 AuthorsJeroni Galmés37
Estimated H-index: 37
The impact of the combined effects of heat stress, increased vapor pressure deficit (VPD) and water deficit on the physiology of major crops needs to be better understood to help identifying the expected negative consequences of climate change and heat waves on global agricultural productivity. To address this issue, rice, wheat and maize plants were grown under control temperature (CT, 25°C, VPD 1.8 kPa), and a high temperature (HT, 38°C, VPD 3.5 kPa), both under well-watered (WW) and water def...
Published on Sep 1, 2016in Environmental Research Letters6.19
Elizabeth Carter1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Cornell University),
Jeff Melkonian11
Estimated H-index: 11
(Cornell University)
+ 1 AuthorsStephen B. Shaw14
Estimated H-index: 14
(State University of New York at Purchase)
Several recent studies have indicated that high air temperatures are limiting maize (Zea mays L.) yields in the US Corn Belt and project significant yield losses with expected increases in growing season temperatures. Further work has suggested that high air temperatures are indicative of high evaporative demand, and that decreases in maize yields which correlate to high temperatures and vapor pressure deficits (VPD) likely reflect underlying soil moisture limitations. It remains unclear whether...
Published on Aug 1, 2016in Global Change Biology8.88
Jesse Tack9
Estimated H-index: 9
(MSU: Mississippi State University),
Andrew P. Barkley15
Estimated H-index: 15
(KSU: Kansas State University)
+ 2 AuthorsLawton Lanier Nalley12
Estimated H-index: 12
(UA: University of Arkansas)
The impact of climate change on crop yields has become widely measured; however, the linkages for winter wheat are less studied due to dramatic weather changes during the long growing season that are difficult to model. Recent research suggests significant reductions under warming. A potential adaptation strategy involves the development of heat resistant varieties by breeders, combined with alternative variety selection by producers. However, the impact of heat on specific wheat varieties remai...
Published on Mar 1, 2016in Environmental Modelling and Software4.55
Heidi Webber12
Estimated H-index: 12
(University of Bonn),
Frank Ewert45
Estimated H-index: 45
(University of Bonn)
+ 6 AuthorsThomas Gaiser23
Estimated H-index: 23
(University of Bonn)
Crop models must be improved to account for the effects of heat stress events on crop yields. To date, most approaches in crop models use air temperature to define heat stress intensity as the cumulative sum of thermal times (TT) above a high temperature threshold during a sensitive period for yield formation. However, observational evidence indicates that crop canopy temperature better explains yield reductions associated with high temperature events than air temperature does. This study presen...
Published on Nov 1, 2015in Global Change Biology8.88
David B. Lobell64
Estimated H-index: 64
(Stanford University),
Graeme L. Hammer62
Estimated H-index: 62
(UQ: University of Queensland)
+ 3 AuthorsScott C. Chapman48
Estimated H-index: 48
(CSIRO: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation)
Characterization of drought environment types (ETs) has proven useful for breeding crops for drought-prone regions. Here we consider how changes in climate and atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations will affect drought ET frequencies in sorghum and wheat systems of Northeast Australia. We also modify APSIM (the Agricultural Production Systems Simulator) to incorporate extreme heat effects on grain number and weight, and then evaluate changes in the occurrence of heat-induced yield losse...
Jesse Tack9
Estimated H-index: 9
(MSU: Mississippi State University),
Andrew P. Barkley15
Estimated H-index: 15
(KSU: Kansas State University),
Lawton Lanier Nalley12
Estimated H-index: 12
(UA: University of Arkansas)
Climate change is expected to increase future temperatures, potentially resulting in reduced crop production in many key production regions. Research quantifying the complex relationship between weather variables and wheat yields is rapidly growing, and recent advances have used a variety of model specifications that differ in how temperature data are included in the statistical yield equation. A unique data set that combines Kansas wheat variety field trial outcomes for 1985–2013 with location-...
Published on May 1, 2015in Environmental Research Letters6.19
Tara J. Troy20
Estimated H-index: 20
(Lehigh University),
C Kipgen1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Columbia University),
I Pal1
Estimated H-index: 1
(University of Colorado Denver)
Climate variability and extremes are expected to increase due to climate change; this may have significant negative impacts for agricultural production. Previous work has primarily focused on the impact of mean growing season temperature and precipitation on rainfed crop yields with little work on irrigated crop yields or climate extremes and their timing. County-level crop yields and daily precipitation and temperature data are pooled to quantify the impact of climate variability and extremes o...
Published on Feb 1, 2015in Nature Climate Change21.72
Senthold Asseng42
Estimated H-index: 42
(UF: University of Florida),
Frank Ewert45
Estimated H-index: 45
(University of Bonn)
+ 50 AuthorsJeffrey W. White40
Estimated H-index: 40
(USDA: United States Department of Agriculture)
Crop models are essential tools for assessing the threat of climate change to local and global food production(1). Present models used to predict wheat grain yield are highly uncertain when simulating how crops respond to temperature(2). Here we systematically tested 30 different wheat crop models of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project against field experiments in which growing season mean temperatures ranged from 15 degrees C to 32 degrees C, including experiments wit...
Published on May 2, 2014in Science41.04
David B. Lobell64
Estimated H-index: 64
(Stanford University),
Michael J. Roberts25
Estimated H-index: 25
(U.H.: University of Hawaii at Manoa)
+ 4 AuthorsGraeme L. Hammer62
Estimated H-index: 62
(UQ: University of Queensland)
A key question for climate change adaptation is whether existing cropping systems can become less sensitive to climate variations. We use a field-level data set on maize and soybean yields in the central United States for 1995 through 2012 to examine changes in drought sensitivity. Although yields have increased in absolute value under all levels of stress for both crops, the sensitivity of maize yields to drought stress associated with high vapor pressure deficits has increased. The greater sen...
Cited By1
Newest
Published on Dec 1, 2019in Nature Communications11.88
Esha Zaveri1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Stanford University),
David B. Lobell64
Estimated H-index: 64
(Stanford University)
Irrigation has been pivotal in wheat’s rise as a major crop in India and is likely to be increasingly important as an adaptation response to climate change. Here we use historical data across 40 years to quantify the contribution of irrigation to wheat yield increases and the extent to which irrigation reduces sensitivity to heat. We estimate that national yields in the 2000s are 13% higher than they would have been without irrigation trends since 1970. Moreover, irrigated wheat exhibits roughly...
Published on Aug 19, 2019in Water2.52
Anna Orfanou3
Estimated H-index: 3
,
D. Pavlou2
Estimated H-index: 2
,
Wesley M. Porter
Maize is one of the most highly produced crops around the world. Factors such as population density, solar radiation, temperature, availability of nutrients and water, and proper tillage method can have favorable results in increasing yield. This project began in 2015, at two different locations in Georgia (Tifton and Camilla), GA, USA, and has been evaluated for three consecutive maize growing seasons. In each location, a different irrigation method was applied; the University of Georgia (UGA) ...
Published on Dec 1, 2018in World Development3.90
Vis Taraz1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Smith College)
Projections suggest that the damages from climate change will be substantial for developing countries. Understanding the ability of households in these countries to adapt to climate change is critical in order to determine the magnitude of the potential damages. In this paper, I investigate the ability of farmers in India to adapt to higher temperatures. I use a methodology that exploits short-term weather fluctuations as well as spatial variation in long-run climate. Specifically, I estimate ho...
Published on Jun 1, 2018in Environmental Research Letters6.19
X Li (Lehigh University), Tara J. Troy20
Estimated H-index: 20
(Lehigh University)
As the global population increases and the climate changes, ensuring a secure food supply is increasingly important. One strategy is irrigation, which allows for crops to be grown outside their optimal climate growing regions and which buffers against climate variability. Although irrigation is a positive climate adaptation mechanism for agriculture, it has a potentially negative effect on water resources as it can lead to groundwater depletion and diminished surface water supplies. This study q...
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