Warming reduces global agricultural production by decreasing cropping frequency and yields

Peng Zhu, Jennifer Burney, Jinfeng Chang, Zhenong Jin, Nathaniel D. Mueller, Qinchuan Xin, Jialu Xu, Le Yu, David Makowski, Philippe Ciais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Annual food caloric production is the product of caloric yield, cropping frequency (CF, number of production seasons per year) and cropland area. Existing studies have largely focused on crop yield, whereas how CF responds to climate change remains poorly understood. Here, we evaluate the global climate sensitivity of caloric yields and CF at national scale. We find a robust negative association between warming and both caloric yield and CF. By the 2050s, projected CF increases in cold regions are offset by larger decreases in warm regions, resulting in a net global CF reduction (−4.2 ± 2.5% in high emission scenario), suggesting that climate-driven decline in CF will exacerbate crop production loss and not provide climate adaptation alone. Although irrigation is effective in offsetting the projected production loss, irrigation areas have to be expanded by >5% in warm regions to fully offset climate-induced production losses by the 2050s.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1016-1023
Number of pages8
JournalNature Climate Change
Volume12
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
P.Z. and P.C. are supported by the CLAND project (grant no. 16-CONV-0003) and ISIPEDIA: The Open Inter-Sectoral Impacts Encyclopedia (grant no. ANR-17-ERA4-0006 - ISIPEDIA). D.M. is supported by the CLAND project (grant no. 16-CONV-0003) and meta-programme CLIMAE-INRAE. L.Y. is supported by Tsinghua University Initiative Scientific Research Programme (2021Z11GHX002, 20223080017). J.B. is supported by NSF/NIFA no. 1639318 INFEWS/T1. J.C. is supported by the National Key Research and Development Programme of China (2021YFE0114500). Q.X. is supported by National Key Research and Development Programme of China (grant no. 2017YFA0604300).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.

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