Response of US crops to elevated temperatures

ncomms13931-f1Climate change could affect agricultural productivity by increasing the number of days with temperatures above 30°C that staple crops like soybean, maize and wheat will experience during a given growing season. Schauberger et al. used nine statistical models to assess future threats to US crops. They found, consistent with previous studies, that for the crops studied in this paper temperatures higher than 30°C have a detrimental effect on productivity. However, sensitivity to high temperatures was contingent on water stress, showing the main driver for yield loss is the effect high temperatures have on water availability. CO2 concentration did not influence observed or simulated yield when experienced at the same time with high temperatures. The authors also point out the need for models that address how other components such as fertilizer use or disease and pest incidence could influence how high temperatures affect productivity. (Summary by Gaby Auge) Nature Comm. doi:10.1038/ncomms13931