Comparison of agricultural impacts of climate change calculated from high and low resolution climate change scenarios: Part I. The uncertainty due to spatial scale

L. O. Mearns, W. Easterling, C. Hays, D. Marx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

We investigated the effect of two different spatial scales of climate change scenarios on crop yields simulated by the EPIC crop model for corn, soybean, and wheat, in the central Great Plains of the United States. The effect of climate change alone was investigated in Part I. In Part II (Easterling et al., 2001) we considered the effects of CO2 fertilization effects and adaptation in addition to climate change. The scenarios were formed from five years of control and 2 × CO2 runs of a high resolution regional climate model (RegCM) and the same from an Australian coarse resolution general circulation model (GCM), which provided the initial and lateral boundary conditions for the regional model runs. We also investigated the effect of two different spatial resolutions of soil input parameters to the crop models. We found that for corn and soybean in the eastern part of the study area, significantly different mean yield changes were calculated depending on the scenario used. Changes in simulated dryland wheat yields in the western areas were very similar, regardless of the scale of the scenario. The spatial scale of soils had a strong effect on the spatial variance and pattern of yields across the study area, but less effect on the mean aggregated yields. We investigated what aspects of the differences in the scenarios were most important for explaining the different simulated yield responses. For instance, precipitation changes in June were most important for corn and soybean in the eastern CSIRO grid boxes. We establish the spatial scale of climate change scenarios as an important uncertainty for climate change impacts analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-172
Number of pages42
JournalClimatic Change
Volume51
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 15 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Atmospheric Science

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