Impacts of climate change on wheat in England and Wales

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Semenov, M. A. 2009. Impacts of climate change on wheat in England and Wales. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. 6 (33), pp. 343-350.

AuthorsSemenov, M. A.

The frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events are likely to increase with global warming. However, it is not clear how these events might affect agricultural crops and whether yield losses resulting from severe droughts or heat stress will increase in the future. The aim of this paper is to analyse changes in the magnitude and spatial patterns of two impact indices for wheat: the probability of heat stress around flowering and the severity of drought stress. To compute these indices, we used a wheat simulation model combined with high-resolution climate scenarios based on the output from the Hadley Centre regional climate model at 18 sites in England and Wales. Despite higher temperature and lower summer precipitation predicted in the UK for the 2050s, the impact of drought stress on simulated wheat yield is predicted to be smaller than that at present, because wheat will mature earlier in a warmer climate and avoid severe summer drought. However, the probability of heat stress around flowering that might result in considerable yield losses is predicted to increase significantly. Breeding strategies for the future climate might need to focus on wheat varieties tolerant to high temperature rather than to drought.

Keywordsdrought and heat stress; wheat simulation model; stochastic weather generator; UKCIP02; LARS-WG; Sirius
Year of Publication2009
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Journal citation6 (33), pp. 343-350
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
PubMed Central IDPMC2658661
Open accessPublished as green open access
Funder project or codeCentre for Biofuels and Climate Change (BCC)
Vulnerability of UK agriculture to extreme events
Publisher's version
Copyright license
Publisher copyright
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online05 Aug 2008
PublisherRoyal Society Publishing

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