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Regional disparities in the beneficial effects of rising CO2 concentrations on crop water productivity

Deryng, Delphine; Elliott, Joshua; Folberth, Christian; Müller, Christoph; Pugh, Thomas A M; Boote, Kenneth J.; Conway, Declan; Ruane, Alex C.; Gerten, Dieter and Jones, James W., et al. (2016) In Nature Climate Change 6(8). p.786-790
Abstract

Rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations ([CO2 ]) are expected to enhance photosynthesis and reduce crop water use. However, there is high uncertainty about the global implications of these effects for future crop production and agricultural water requirements under climate change. Here we combine results from networks of field experiments and global crop models to present a spatially explicit global perspective on crop water productivity (CWP, the ratio of crop yield to evapotranspiration) for wheat, maize, rice and soybean under elevated [CO2 ] and associated climate change projected for a high-end greenhouse gas emissions scenario. We find CO2 effects increase global CWP by 10[0;47]%-27[7;37]%... (More)

Rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations ([CO2 ]) are expected to enhance photosynthesis and reduce crop water use. However, there is high uncertainty about the global implications of these effects for future crop production and agricultural water requirements under climate change. Here we combine results from networks of field experiments and global crop models to present a spatially explicit global perspective on crop water productivity (CWP, the ratio of crop yield to evapotranspiration) for wheat, maize, rice and soybean under elevated [CO2 ] and associated climate change projected for a high-end greenhouse gas emissions scenario. We find CO2 effects increase global CWP by 10[0;47]%-27[7;37]% (median[interquartile range] across the model ensemble) by the 2080s depending on crop types, with particularly large increases in arid regions (by up to 48[25;56]% for rainfed wheat). If realized in the fields, the effects of elevated [CO2 ] could considerably mitigate global yield losses whilst reducing agricultural consumptive water use (4-17%). We identify regional disparities driven by differences in growing conditions across agro-ecosystems that could have implications for increasing food production without compromising water security. Finally, our results demonstrate the need to expand field experiments and encourage greater consistency in modelling the effects of rising [CO2 ] across crop and hydrological modelling communities.

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Nature Climate Change
volume
6
issue
8
pages
5 pages
publisher
Nature Publishing Group
external identifiers
  • scopus:84979776724
  • wos:000382134800018
ISSN
1758-678X
DOI
10.1038/nclimate2995
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English
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yes
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ab954d89-63ba-44de-b170-f9962ba57f95
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2016-12-19 11:42:27
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2017-11-05 05:11:17
@article{ab954d89-63ba-44de-b170-f9962ba57f95,
  abstract     = {<p>Rising atmospheric CO<sub>2</sub> concentrations ([CO<sub>2</sub> ]) are expected to enhance photosynthesis and reduce crop water use. However, there is high uncertainty about the global implications of these effects for future crop production and agricultural water requirements under climate change. Here we combine results from networks of field experiments and global crop models to present a spatially explicit global perspective on crop water productivity (CWP, the ratio of crop yield to evapotranspiration) for wheat, maize, rice and soybean under elevated [CO<sub>2</sub> ] and associated climate change projected for a high-end greenhouse gas emissions scenario. We find CO<sub>2</sub> effects increase global CWP by 10[0;47]%-27[7;37]% (median[interquartile range] across the model ensemble) by the 2080s depending on crop types, with particularly large increases in arid regions (by up to 48[25;56]% for rainfed wheat). If realized in the fields, the effects of elevated [CO<sub>2</sub> ] could considerably mitigate global yield losses whilst reducing agricultural consumptive water use (4-17%). We identify regional disparities driven by differences in growing conditions across agro-ecosystems that could have implications for increasing food production without compromising water security. Finally, our results demonstrate the need to expand field experiments and encourage greater consistency in modelling the effects of rising [CO<sub>2</sub> ] across crop and hydrological modelling communities.</p>},
  author       = {Deryng, Delphine and Elliott, Joshua and Folberth, Christian and Müller, Christoph and Pugh, Thomas A M and Boote, Kenneth J. and Conway, Declan and Ruane, Alex C. and Gerten, Dieter and Jones, James W. and Khabarov, Nikolay and Olin, Stefan and Schaphoff, Sibyll and Schmid, Erwin and Yang, Hong and Rosenzweig, Cynthia},
  issn         = {1758-678X},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {08},
  number       = {8},
  pages        = {786--790},
  publisher    = {Nature Publishing Group},
  series       = {Nature Climate Change},
  title        = {Regional disparities in the beneficial effects of rising CO<sub>2</sub> concentrations on crop water productivity},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2995},
  volume       = {6},
  year         = {2016},
}