Scientists at the Department of Global Ecology of the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Stanford, California, have found that climate trends significantly affect corn and soybean yields. David Lobell and Dr. Gregory Asner analyzed 17 years of data on crop yields, temperature, precipitation, and solar radiation throughout the U.S. for their study and published their results in the February 14, 2003, issue of Science.
The investigation showed that gradual increases in temperature cause significant decreases in productivity for the two major United States crops, corn and soybean. "We found that climate is a surprisingly important factor in crop yield trends," stated Lobell.
Most studies on climate changes and crop production have not looked at these kinds of data over this many years. Dr. Christopher Field, director of the Department of Global Ecology, noted: "What makes this study unique is that they looked at several regions that have experienced the same changes in technology, but different changes in climate. This allowed them to separate the contributions of climate and technology to yield trends, which has been hard to do in the past."
David Lobell, Greg Asner | EurekAlert!
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