Climate change projected to impact crops within 10 years

November 15, 2021

New research indicates climate change will negatively affect one the state’s top crops within the next decade.

Scientists from NASA and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis found that higher temperatures, shifts in rainfall and elevated surface carbon dioxide concentrations from human-caused greenhouse gas emissions will reduce corn crop yields worldwide by 24% within 10 years.

“We did not expect to see such a fundamental shift, as compared to crop yield projections from the previous generation of climate and crop models conducted in 2014,” said lead author Jonas Jägermeyr, a crop modeler and climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Earth Institute at Columbia University. “A 20% decrease from current production levels could have severe implications worldwide.”

Corn is grown all over the world, and declines in production are expected in North and Central America, West Africa, Central Asia, Brazil and China.

Scientists said they expect yields from another crop to rise, but with a price.

Wheat yields are expected to grow 17% due to climate change, but with a decrease in nutritional value.

“Apart from more pronounced production losses projected for maize by the new model ensemble, the emergence of adverse climate change impacts – the point of time when historic extreme years become the new norm – also occurs substantially earlier for this crop and the model agreement is more robust,” said coauthor and IIASA researcher Christian Folberth. “This suggests that less time may be left to adapt related crop production systems to the changing climate than indicated by earlier ensemble studies.”

A team of researchers from Purdue University recently received a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to figure out how Midwestern farmers could diversify their crops in order to explore alternatives that may be more suitable for the Midwest of the future.

Climate change projected to impact crops within 10 years