The combined and separate impacts of climate extremes on the current and future US rainfed maize and soybean production under elevated CO2

Zhenong Jin, Qianlai Zhuang, Jiali Wang, Sotirios V. Archontoulis, Zachary Zobel, Veerabhadra R. Kotamarthi

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46 Scopus citations

Abstract

Heat and drought are two emerging climatic threats to the US maize and soybean production, yet their impacts on yields are collectively determined by the magnitude of climate change and rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations. This study quantifies the combined and separate impacts of high temperature, heat and drought stresses on the current and future US rainfed maize and soybean production and for the first time characterizes spatial shifts in the relative importance of individual stress. Crop yields are simulated using the Agricultural Production Systems Simulator (APSIM), driven by high-resolution (12 km) dynamically downscaled climate projections for 1995–2004 and 2085–2094. Results show that maize and soybean yield losses are prominent in the US Midwest by the late 21st century under both Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios, and the magnitude of loss highly depends on the current vulnerability and changes in climate extremes. Elevated atmospheric CO2 partially but not completely offsets the yield gaps caused by climate extremes, and the effect is greater in soybean than in maize. Our simulations suggest that drought will continue to be the largest threat to US rainfed maize production under RCP4.5 and soybean production under both RCP scenarios, whereas high temperature and heat stress take over the dominant stress of drought on maize under RCP8.5. We also reveal that shifts in the geographic distributions of dominant stresses are characterized by the increase in concurrent stresses, especially for the US Midwest. These findings imply the importance of considering heat and drought stresses simultaneously for future agronomic adaptation and mitigation strategies, particularly for breeding programs and crop management. The modeling framework of partitioning the total effects of climate change into individual stress impacts can be applied to the study of other crops and agriculture systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2687-2704
Number of pages18
JournalGlobal change biology
Volume23
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the NSF Project granted to Q.Z. (Grant IIS-1028291; A Paradigm Shift in Ecosystem and Environmental Modeling: An Integrated Stochastic, Deterministic, and Machine Learning Approach). J.W. and V.R.K. acknowledge the support from the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) for the downscaling calculations.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Keywords

  • Agricultural Production Systems Simulator
  • climate change
  • drought
  • elevated CO
  • heat
  • maize
  • soybean

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