Climate Change and...
Effects of Climate Change
- Climate Variability
- Climate Models
Effects of Climate Change
Agriculture, Grazing and Food Production
ABSTRACT: Abstract: Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify and describe key economic and policy-related issues with regard to terrestrial C sequestration and provide an overview of the economics of C sequestration on agricultural soils in the USA.
Design/methodology/approach – Recent economic literature on carbon sequestration was reviewed to gather insights on the role of agriculture in greenhouse gas emissions mitigation. Results from the most salient studies were presented in an attempt to highlight the general consensus on producer-level responses to C sequestration incentives and the likely mechanisms used to facilitate C sequestration activities on agricultural soils.
Findings – The likely economic potential of agriculture to store soil C appears to be considerably less than the technical potential. Terrestrial C sequestration is a readily implementable option for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and can provide mitigation comparable in cost to current abatement options in other industries. Despite considerable research to date, many aspects of terrestrial C sequestration in the USA are not well understood.
Originality/value – The paper provides a useful synopsis of the terms and issues associated with C sequestration, and serves as an informative reference on the economics of C sequestration that will be useful as the USA debates future greenhouse gas emissions mitigation policies.
Grace, P. R., Colunga-Garcia, M., Gage, S. H., Robertson, G. P., Safir, G. R. (2006). The potential impact of agricultural management and climate change on soil organic carbon of the North Central Region of the United States. Ecosystems 9 (5): 816-827
ABSTRACT: Soil organic carbon (SOC) represents a significant pool of carbon within the biosphere. Climatic shifts in temperature and precipitation have a major influence on the decomposition and amount of SOC stored within an ecosystem. We have linked net primary production algorithms, which include the impact of enhanced atmospheric CO2 on plant growth, to the Soil Organic Carbon Resources And Transformations in EcoSystems (SOCRATES) model to develop a SOC map for the North Central Region of the United States between the years 1850 and 2100 in response to agricultural activity and climate conditions generated by the CSIRO Mk2 Global Circulation Model (GCM) and based on the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) IS92a emission scenario. We estimate that the current day (1990) stocks of SOC in the top 10 cm of the North Central Region to be 4692 Mt, and 8090 Mt in the top 20 cm of soil. This is 19% lower than the pre-settlement steady state value predicted by the SOCRATES model. By the year 2100, with temperature and precipitation increasing across the North Central Region by an average of 3.9°C and 8.1 cm, respectively, SOCRATES predicts SOC stores of the North Central Region to decline by 11.5 and 2% (in relation to 1990 values) for conventional and conservation tillage scenarios, respectively.
ABSTRACT: The global carbon (C) cycle is changing, as evident from abrupt increases in atmospheric CO2 . These changes have sparked interest in agricultural soils as potential repositories for excess atmospheric C. Our perspective on soil C, therefore, has shifted: once, we focused mainly on how soil C affected productivity within agroecosystems; now we see also how C dynamics in agricultural soils exert influences far beyond the farm. We have long used soil C as an indicator of soil quality; now we may want to use soil C also as a broader indicator of ecosystem response. To prompt further discussion, I offer some tentative thoughts about how we might use soil C as an indicator on a changing earth. They include: using soil C to measure changes across time, not only across space; devising more sensitive measures of soil C change; quantifying soil C across four dimensions; measuring the nature of C, as well as its amount; using soil C alongside other indicators; finding better ways of admitting our uncertainty; establishing long-term sites for our successors to measure soil C change; and following flows of C past the farm fences. Recent worries about global warming have focused our attention on “sequestering” soil C to remove atmospheric CO2 . That aim may be worthy, but perhaps too narrow; a broader goal might be to ensure the productivity, permanence, and health of our agroecosystems and adjacent environments – and use C storage as a measure of progress toward that goal. Key words: Soil organic matter, global carbon cycle, carbon sequestration, global change
ABSTRACT: Climate change has emerged as the most prominent of the global environment issues and there is a need to evaluate its impact on agriculture. Crop simulation models help greatly in this regard. Crop models such as WTGROWS, INFOCROP, ORYZA and DSSAT have been widely used for land use planning, agri-production estimates, impact of climate change and environmental impact analysis. Vulnerable regions under future scenarios of climate change and adaptation strategies (agronomic and input management) have been evolved for many important crops by using simulation techniques. One of the simple empirical techniques for evaluating the impact of future climate change is through historic analysis of the response of crops to inter-seasonal climatic variability. The impact of temperature rise is different for crops grown under variable production environments. Interactions exist for changes in temperature, carbon dioxide concentration, solar radiation and rainfall on growth and yield of crops. Adaptation strategies through the adoption of agronomic management options (such as altered date of sowing, scheduling of water and nutrients) can sustain agricultural productivity under climate change. The rapid changes in land use and land cover have to be included for impact analysis. Linking of the socioeconomic aspects needs to be strengthened.
ABSTRACT: Enhancing food production and supporting civil/engineering structures have been the principal foci of soil science research during most of the 19th and the first seven or eight decades of the 20th century. Demands on soil resources during the 21st century and beyond include: (i) increasing agronomic production to meet the food needs of additional 3.5 billion people that will reside in developing countries along with likely shift in food habits from plant-based to animal-based diet, (ii) producing ligno-cellulosic biomass through establishment of energy plantations on agriculturally surplus/marginal soils or other specifically identified lands, (iii) converting degraded/desertified soils to restorative land use for enhancing biodiversity and improving the environment, (iv) sequestering carbon in terrestrial (soil and trees) and aquatic ecosystems to off-set industrial emissions and stabilize the atmospheric abundance of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, (v) developing farming/cropping systems which improve water use efficiency and minimize risks of water pollution, contamination and eutrophication, and (vi) creating reserves for species preservation, recreation and enhancing aesthetic value of soil resources. Realization of these multifarious soil functions necessitate establishment of inter-disciplinary approach with close linkages between soil scientists and chemists, physicists, geologists, hydrologists, climatologists, biologists, system engineers (nano technologists), computer scientists and information technologists, economists, social scientists and molecular geneticists dealing with human, animal and microbial processes. While advancing the study of basic principles and processes, soil scientists must also reach out to other disciplines to address the global issues of the 21st century and beyond.
ABSTRACT: Historically, soils have lost 40–90 Pg carbon (C) globally through cultivation and disturbance with current rates of C loss due to land use change of about 1.6 ± 0.8 Pg C y−1 , mainly in the tropics. Since soils contain more than twice the C found in the atmosphere, loss of C from soils can have a significant effect of atmospheric CO2 concentration, and thereby on climate. Halting land-use conversion would be an effective mechanism to reduce soil C losses, but with a growing population and changing dietary preferences in the developing world, more land is likely to be required for agriculture. Maximizing the productivity of existing agricultural land and applying best management practices to that land would slow the loss of, or is some cases restore, soil C. There are, however, many barriers to implementing best management practices, the most significant of which in developing countries are driven by poverty. Management practices that also improve food security and profitability are most likely to be adopted. Soil C management needs to considered within a broader framework of sustainable development. Policies to encourage fair trade, reduced subsidies for agriculture in developed countries and less onerous interest on loans and foreign debt would encourage sustainable development, which in turn would encourage the adoption of successful soil C management in developing countries. If soil management is to be used to help address the problem of global warming, priority needs to be given to implementing such policies.
Tubiello, F. N., Soussana, J. F., Howden, S. M. (2007). Crop and pasture response to climate change. Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences Of The United States Of America 104 (50): 19686-19690
ABSTRACT: We review recent research of importance to understanding crop and pasture plant species response to climate change. Topics include plant response to elevated CO2 concentration, interactions with climate change variables and air pollutants, impacts of increased climate variability and frequency of extreme events, the role of weeds and pests, disease and animal health, issues in biodiversity, and vulnerability of soil carbon pools. We critically analyze the links between fundamental knowledge at the plant and plot level and the additional socio-economic variables that determine actual production and trade of food at regional to global scales. We conclude by making recommendations for current and future research needs, with a focus on continued and improved integration of experimental and modeling efforts.
ABSTRACT: The world is experiencing climate change that in no way can be considered normal, and the challenge that this brings to agriculture is twofold. The first challenge relates to the continuing need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that generate the changes to climate. Australia's National Greenhouse Gas Inventory estimates that agriculture produces about one-quarter of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions (including land clearing). The main gases emitted are carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. These gases are derived from high-value components within the agricultural production base, so reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from agriculture has the potential to provide production and financial benefits, as well as greenhouse gas reduction. Methane essentially derives from enteric fermentation in ruminants. Nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide, on the other hand, are strongly influenced, and perhaps even determined by a range of variable soil-based parameters, of which the main ones are moisture, aerobiosis, temperature, amount and form of carbon, organic and inorganic nitrogen, pH, and cation exchange capacity. Tillage has the potential to influence most of these parameters, and hence may be one of the most effective mechanisms to influence rates of emissions of greenhouse gases from Australian agriculture. There have been substantial changes in tillage practice in Australia over the past few decades – with moves away from aggressive tillage techniques to a fewer number of passes using conservative practices. The implications of these changes in tillage for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from Australian agriculture are discussed.
The second challenge of climate change for Australian agriculture relates to the impacts of climate change on production, and the capacity of agriculture to adapt where it is most vulnerable. Already agriculture is exposed to climate change, and this exposure will be accentuated over the coming decades. The most recent projections for Australia provided by the CSIRO through the Australian Climate Change Science Programme, indicate that southern Australia can expect a trend to drying due to increased temperatures, reduced rainfalls, and increased evaporative potentials. Extremes in weather events are likely also to become more common. We anticipate that climate change will become an additional driver for continued change in tillage practice across Australia, as land managers respond to the impacts of climate change on their production base, and governments undertake a range of activities to address both emissions reduction and the impacts of climate change in agriculture and land management.
CCSP, P. Backlund, A. Janetos, D. Schimel, J. Hatfield, K. Boote, P. Fay, L. Hahn, C. Izaurralde, B.A. Kimball, T. Mader, J. Morgan, D. Ort, W. Polley, A. Thomson, D. Wolfe, M. Ryan, S. Archer, R. Birdsey, C. Dahm, L. Heath, J. Hicke, D. Hollinger, T. Huxman, G. Okin, R. Oren, J. Randerson, W. Schlesinger, D. Lettenmaier, D. Major, L. Poff, S. Running, L. Hansen, D. Inouye, B.P. Kelly, L Meyerson, B. Peterson, R. Shaw (2008a). The effects of climate change on agriculture, land resources, water resources, and biodiversity. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: 362 p.
- Climate change is already affecting U.S. water resources, agriculture, land resources, and biodiversity, and will continue to do so.
- Grain and oilseed crops will mature more rapidly, but increasing temperatures will increase the risk of crop failures, particularly if precipitation decreases or becomes more variable.
- Higher temperatures will negatively affect livestock. Warmer winters will reduce mortality but this will be more than offset by greater mortality in hotter summers. Hotter temperatures will also result in reduced productivity of livestock and dairy animals.
- Forests in the interior West, the Southwest, and Alaska are already being affected by climate change with increases in the size and frequency of forest fires, insect outbreaks and tree mortality. These changes are expected to continue.
- Much of the United States has experienced higher precipitation and streamflow, with decreased drought severity and duration, over the 20th century. The West and Southwest, however, are notable exceptions, and increased drought conditions have occurred in these regions.
- Weeds grow more rapidly under elevated atmospheric CO2 . Under projections reported in the assessment, weeds migrate northward and are less sensitive to herbicide applications.
- There is a trend toward reduced mountain snowpack and earlier spring snowmelt runoff in the Western United States.
- Horticultural crops (such as tomato, onion, and fruit) are more sensitive to climate change than grains and oilseed crops.
- Young forests on fertile soils will achieve higher productivity from elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Nitrogen deposition and warmer temperatures will increase productivity in other types of forests where water is available.
- Invasion by exotic grass species into arid lands will result from climate change, causing an increase fire frequency. Rivers and riparian systems in arid lands will be negatively impacted.
- A continuation of the trend toward increased water use efficiency could help mitigate the impacts of climate change on water resources.
ABSTRACT: Soil degradation, caused by land misuse and soil mismanagement, has plagued humanity since the dawn of settled agriculture. Many once thriving civilizations collapsed due to erosion, salinization, nutrient depletion and other soil degradation processes. The Green Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, that saved hundreds of millions from starvation in Asia and elsewhere, by-passed Sub-Saharan Africa. This remains the only region in the world where the number of hungry and food-insecure populations will still be on the increase even by 2020. The serious technological and political challenges are being exacerbated by the rising energy costs. Resource-poor and small-size land-holders can neither afford the expensive input nor are they sure of their effectiveness because of degraded soils and the harsh, changing climate. Consequently, crop yields are adversely impacted by accelerated erosion, and depletion of soil organic matter (SOM) and nutrients because of the extractive farming practices. Low crop yields, despite growing improved varieties, are due to the severe soil degradation, especially the low SOM reserves and poor soil structure that aggravate drought stress. Components of recommended technology include: no-till; residue mulch and cover crops; integrated nutrient management; and biochar used in conjunction with improved crops (genetically modified, biotechnology) and cropping systems, and energy plantation for biofuel production. However, its low acceptance, e.g. for no-till farming, is due to a range of biophysical, social and economic factors. Competing uses of crop residues for other needs is among numerous factors limiting the adoption of no-till farming. Creating another income stream for resource-poor farmers, through payments for ecosystem services, e.g., C sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems, is an important strategy for promoting the adoption of recommended technologies. Adoption of improved soil management practices is essential to adapt to the changing climate, and meeting the needs of growing populations for food, fodder, fuel and fabrics. Soil restoration and sustainable management are essential to achieving food security, and global peace and stability.
ABSTRACT: World soils have been a source of atmospheric carbon dioxide since the dawn of settled agriculture, which began about 10 millennia ago. Most agricultural soils have lost 30% to 75% of their antecedent soil organic carbon (SOC) pool or 30 to 40 t C ha-1 . The magnitude of loss is often more in soils prone to accelerated erosion and other degradative processes. On a global scale, CO2-C emissions since 1850 are estimated at 270 ± 30 giga ton (billion ton or Gt) from fossil fuel combustion compared with 78 ± 12 Gt from soils. Consequently, the SOC pool in agricultural soils is much lower than their potential capacity. Furthermore, depletion of the SOC pool also leads to degradation in soil quality and declining agronomic/biomass productivity. Therefore, conversion to restorative land uses (e.g., afforestation, improved pastures) and adoption of recommended management practices (RMP) can enhance SOC and improve soil quality. Important RMP for enhancing SOC include conservation tillage, mulch farming, cover crops, integrated nutrient management including use of manure and compost, and agroforestry. Restoration of degraded/desertified soils and ecosystems is an important strategy. The rate of SOC sequestration, ranging from 100 to 1000 kg ha-1 year-1 , depends on climate, soil type, and site-specific management. Total potential of SOC sequestration in the United States of 144 to 432 Mt year-1 (288 Mt year-1 ) comprises 45 to 98 Mt in cropland, 13 to 70 Mt in grazing land, and 25 to 102 Mt in forestland. The global potential of SOC sequestration is estimated at 0.6 to 1.2 Gt C year-1 , comprising 0.4 to 0.8 Gt C year-1 through adoption of RMP on cropland (1350 Mha), and 0.01 to 0.03 Gt C year-1 on irrigated soils (275 Mha), and 0.01 to 0.3 Gt C year-1 through improvements of rangelands and grasslands (3700 Mha). In addition, there is a large potential of C sequestration in biomass in forest plantations, short rotation woody perennials, and so on. The attendant improvement in soil quality with increase in SOC pool size has a strong positive impact on agronomic productivity and world food security. An increase in the SOC pool within the root zone by 1 t C ha-1 year-1 can enhance food production in developing countries by 30 to 50 Mt year-1 including 24 to 40 Mt year-1 of cereal and legumes, and 6 to 10 Mt year-1 of roots and tubers. Despite the enormous challenge of SOC sequestration, especially in regions of warm and arid climates and predominantly resource-poor farmers, it is a truly a win-win strategy. While improving ecosystem services and ensuring sustainable use of soil resources, SOC sequestration also mitigates global warming by offsetting fossil fuel emissions and improving water quality by reducing nonpoint source pollution.
ABSTRACT: The carbon sink capacity of the world's agricultural and degraded soils is 50 to 66% of the historic carbon loss of 42 to 78 gigatons of carbon. The rate of soil organic carbon sequestration with adoption of recommended technologies depends on soil texture and structure, rainfall, temperature, farming system, and soil management. Strategies to increase the soil carbon pool include soil restoration and woodland regeneration, no-till farming, cover crops, nutrient management, manuring and sludge application, improved grazing, water conservation and harvesting, efficient irrigation, agroforestry practices, and growing energy crops on spare lands. An increase of 1 ton of soil carbon pool of degraded cropland soils may increase crop yield by 20 to 40 kilograms per hectare (kg/ha) for wheat, 10 to 20 kg/ha for maize, and 0.5 to 1 kg/ha for cowpeas. As well as enhancing food security, carbon sequestration has the potential to offset fossilfuel emissions by 0.4 to 1.2 gigatons of carbon per year, or 5 to 15% of the global fossil-fuel emissions.
R. M. Adams, C. Rosenzweig, R. M. Peart, J. T. Ritchie, B. A. McCarl, J. D. Glyer, R. B. Curry, J. W. Jones, K. J. Boot, L. H. Allen, Jr. (1990). Global climate change and US agriculture. Nature 345 (17 May 1990)
ABSTRACT: Agricultural productivity is expected to be sensitive to global climate change. Models from atmospheric science, plant science and agricultural economics are linked to explore this sensitivity. Although the results depend on the severity of climate change and the compensating effects of carbon dioxide on crop yields, the simulation suggests that irrigated acreage will expand and regional patterns of US agriculture will shift. The impact on the US economy strongly depends on which climate model is used.
J. Reilly, F. Tubiello, B. McCarl, D. Abler, R. Darwin, K. Fuglie, S. Hollinger, C. Izaurralde, S. Jagtap, J. Jones, L. Mearns, D. Ojima, E. Paul, K. Paustian, S. Riha, N. Rosenberg, C. Rosenzweig (2003). U.S. agriculture and climate change: new results. Climatic Change 57 (1-2): 43-67
ABSTRACT: We examined the impacts on U.S. agriculture of transient climate change as simulated by 2 global general circulation models focusing on the decades ofthe 2030s and 2090s. We examined historical shifts in the location of crops and trends in the variability of U.S. average crop yields, finding that non-climatic forces have likely dominated the north and westward movement of crops and the trends in yield variability. For the simulated future climates we considered impacts on crops, grazing and pasture, livestock, pesticide use, irrigation water supply and demand, and the sensitivity to international trade assumptions, finding that the aggregate of these effects were positive for the U.S. consumer but negative, due to declining crop prices, for producers. We examined the effects of potential changes in El Niño/SouthernOscillation (ENSO) and impacts on yield variability of changes in mean climate conditions. Increased losses occurred with ENSO intensity and frequency increases that could not be completely offset even if the events could be perfectly forecasted. Effects on yield variability of changes in mean temperatures were mixed. We also considered case study interactions of climate, agriculture, and the environment focusing on climate effects on nutrient loading to the Chesapeake Bay and groundwater depletion of the Edward's Aquifer that provides water for municipalities and agriculture to the San Antonio, Texas area. While only case studies, these results suggest environmental targets such as pumping limits and changes in farm practices to limit nutrient run-off would need to be tightened if current environmental goals were to be achieved under the climate scenarios we examined.
ABSTRACT: A global assessment of the potential impact of climate change on world food supply suggests that doubling of the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration will lead to only a small decrease in global crop production. But developing countries are likely to bear the brunt of the problem, and simulations of the effect of adaptive measures by farmers imply that these will do little to reduce the disparity between developed and developing countries.
FIRST PARAGRAPH: A changing climate will affect soil and water resources on agricultural land in many ways, but will the effect of climate change on soil and water resources on agricultural land be large enough to warrant changes in U.S. conservation policy or practice? To answer this question, the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) reviewed the literature and engaged members of an expert panel in a discussion of quantitative estimates of the effects of climate change on soil and water resources in agricultural landscapes. We chose to focus on one climatic variable, precipitation; two primary conservation effects, soil erosion and runoff; and one type of agricultural land, cropland.
ABSTRACT: Greenhouse gas mitigation possibilities in the agricultural and forest sector represent a complex system of interlinked strategies. To assess their true economic implementation potential, major mitigation strategies are simultaneously examined with a U.S. agricultural sector model over a large range of hypothetical carbon prices. Soil carbon sequestration through reduced tillage appears most attractive for relatively low carbon prices. Afforestation and biofuel generation, however, dominate at higher price levels. For politically feasible prices, the competitive economic contribution of all major strategies is greatly below their technical potential. However, positive environmental and social coeffects may increase the importance of agricultural mitigation policies.