Sunday, January 23, 2011

Climate change impacts on agricultural crops

American Society of Agronomy: Changes in temperature, CO2, and precipitation under the scenarios of climate change for the next 30 years present a challenge to crop production. This comprehensive review, published in Agronomy Journal, focuses on the impact of temperature, CO2, and ozone on agronomic crops and the implications for crop production.

Understanding these implications for agricultural crops is critical for developing cropping systems resilient to stresses induced by climate change. There is variation among crops in their response to CO2, temperature, and precipitation changes and, with the regional differences in predicted climate, a situation is created in which the responses will be further complicated.

The frequency of years when temperatures exceed thresholds for damage during critical growth stages is likely to increase for some crops and regions. The increase in CO2 contributes significantly to enhanced plant growth and improved water use efficiency (WUE); however, there may be a downscaling of these positive impacts due to higher temperatures plants will experience during their growth cycle.

A challenge is to understand the interactions of the changing climatic parameters because of the interactions among temperature, CO2, and precipitation on plant growth and development and also on the biotic stresses of weeds, insects, and diseases. Agronomists will have to consider the variations in temperature and precipitation as part of the production system if they are to ensure the food security required by an ever increasing population….

Smoke over wheat fields in Afghanistan, US Army photo.

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