Quantifying the Indirect Impacts of Climate on Agriculture: An Inter-Method Comparison

TitleQuantifying the Indirect Impacts of Climate on Agriculture: An Inter-Method Comparison
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsCalvin, Kate, and Fisher-Vanden Karen
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Volume12
Number11
Abstract / Summary

Climate change and increases in CO2 concentration affect the productivity of land, with implications for land use, land cover, and agricultural production. Much of the literature on the effect of climate on agriculture has focused on linking projections of changes in climate to process-based or statistical crop models. However, the changes in productivity have broader economic implications that cannot be quantified in crop models alone. How important are these socio-economic feedbacks to a comprehensive assessment of the impacts of climate change on agriculture? In this paper, we attempt to measure the importance of these interaction effects through an inter-method comparison between process models, statistical models, and integrated assessment model (IAMs). We find the impacts on crop yields vary widely between these three modeling approaches. Yield impacts generated by the IAMs are 20%–40% higher than the yield impacts generated by process-based or statistical crop models, with indirect climate effects adjusting yields by between −12% and +15% (e.g. input substitution and crop switching). The remaining effects are due to technological change.

URLhttp://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aa843c
DOI10.1088/1748-9326/aa843c
Funding Program: 
Journal: Environmental Research Letters
Year of Publication: 2017
Volume: 12
Number: 11
Publication Date: 10/2017

Climate change and increases in CO2 concentration affect the productivity of land, with implications for land use, land cover, and agricultural production. Much of the literature on the effect of climate on agriculture has focused on linking projections of changes in climate to process-based or statistical crop models. However, the changes in productivity have broader economic implications that cannot be quantified in crop models alone. How important are these socio-economic feedbacks to a comprehensive assessment of the impacts of climate change on agriculture? In this paper, we attempt to measure the importance of these interaction effects through an inter-method comparison between process models, statistical models, and integrated assessment model (IAMs). We find the impacts on crop yields vary widely between these three modeling approaches. Yield impacts generated by the IAMs are 20%–40% higher than the yield impacts generated by process-based or statistical crop models, with indirect climate effects adjusting yields by between −12% and +15% (e.g. input substitution and crop switching). The remaining effects are due to technological change.

DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/aa843c
Citation:
Calvin, K, and K Fisher-Vanden.  2017.  "Quantifying the Indirect Impacts of Climate on Agriculture: An Inter-Method Comparison."  Environmental Research Letters 12(11).  https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aa843c.