Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Climate change will reduce crop yields sooner than we thought


A study led by the University of Leeds has shown that global warming of only 2°C will be detrimental to crops in temperate and tropical regions, with reduced yields from the 2030s onwards.

Professor Andy Challinor, from the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds and lead author of the study, said: "Our research shows that crop yields will be negatively affected by climate change much earlier than expected."

"Furthermore, the impact of climate change on crops will vary both from year-to-year and from place-to-place – with the variability becoming greater as the weather becomes increasingly erratic."

The study, published today by the journal Nature Climate Change, feeds directly into the Working Group II report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, which is due to be published at the end of March 2014.

... more about:
»CCAFS »Climate »Exeter »IPCC »crop »reduce »small

In the study, the researchers created a new data set by combining and comparing results from 1,700 published assessments of the response that climate change will have on the yields of rice, maize and wheat.

Due to increased interest in climate change research, the new study was able to create the largest dataset to date on crop responses, with more than double the number of studies that were available for researchers to analyse for the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report in 2007.

In the Fourth Assessment Report, scientists had reported that regions of the world with temperate climates, such as Europe and most of North America, could withstand a couple of degrees of warming without a noticeable effect on harvests, or possibly even benefit from a bumper crop.

"As more data have become available, we've seen a shift in consensus, telling us that the impacts of climate change in temperate regions will happen sooner rather than later," said Professor Challinor.

The researchers state that we will see, on average, an increasingly negative impact of climate change on crop yields from the 2030s onwards. The impact will be greatest in the second half of the century, when decreases of over 25% will become increasingly common.

These statistics already account for minor adaptation techniques employed by farmers to mitigate the effects of climate change, such as small adjustments in the crop variety and planting date. Later in the century, greater agricultural transformations and innovations will be needed in order to safeguard crop yields for future generations.

"Climate change means a less predictable harvest, with different countries winning and losing in different years. The overall picture remains negative, and we are now starting to see how research can support adaptation by avoiding the worse impacts," concludes Professor Challinor.


The study was financially supported by the NERC EQUIP programme and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), with the financial assistance of the European Union, Canadian International Development Agency, World Bank, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Danida.

Further information

The research paper, 'A meta-analysis of crop yield under climate change and adaptation', was published online by the journal Nature Climate Change on 16 March 2014:

Professor Andy Challinor, a lead author of the forthcoming IPCC report, is available for interview. Please contact Sarah Reed, Press Officer, University of Leeds, on 0113 34 34196 or email

Lead authors of research papers from the University of Leeds from all three Working Groups of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report will be available for interview at the About Transformational Climate Science 2014 conference, which will be held in Exeter on 15-16 May 2014. The event is co-organised by the University of Leeds, the Met Office and the University of Exeter. For further information, please contact Sarah Reed, Press Officer, University of Leeds, on 0113 34 34196 or email

University of Leeds

The University of Leeds is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK and a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities.

Sarah Reed | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: CCAFS Climate Exeter IPCC crop reduce small

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Forest Management Yields Higher Productivity through Biodiversity
14.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Farming with forests
23.09.2016 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>