Understanding how climate change will affect crop yields in the future is vitally important to agricultural decision makers today. However the models we are using to predict potential impacts often disagree. AgMIP researchers have just published a letter online in the June issue of Nature Climate Change, “Uncertainty in simulating wheat yields under climate change” that proposes a new methodology to decrease uncertainty and improve predictions.
The authors, using 27 different wheat crop models at 4 different sites, presented the largest standardized model intercomparison for climate change impacts so far. By using an ensemble model approach they improved the accuracy of the projections over individual crop models.
In addition, impact uncertainties need to be reduced by improving temperature and CO2 relationships in models and can be better quantified through use of multi-model ensembles. Less uncertainty in describing how climate change may affect agricultural productivity will aid policymakers in adaptation strategy development.
“By knowing where these models break down, we will be better able to improve them,” explained Senthold Asseng, Associate Professor of Agricultural & Biological Engineering at the University of Florida, lead author of the letter, and AgMIP Crop Modeling Team member.
A pdf of the article can be accessed here.