Climate impacts on global agriculture emerge earlier in new generation of climate and crop models

Jonas Jägermeyr*, Christoph Müller, Alex C. Ruane, Joshua Elliott, Juraj Balkovic, Oscar Castillo, Babacar Faye, Ian Foster, Christian Folberth, James A. Franke, Kathrin Fuchs, Jose R. Guarin, Jens Heinke, Gerrit Hoogenboom, Toshichika Iizumi, Atul K. Jain, David Kelly, Nikolay Khabarov, Stefan Lange, Tzu Shun LinWenfeng Liu, Oleksandr Mialyk, Sara Minoli, Elisabeth J. Moyer, Masashi Okada, Meridel Phillips, Cheryl Porter, Sam S. Rabin, Clemens Scheer, Julia M. Schneider, Joep F. Schyns, Rastislav Skalsky, Andrew Smerald, Tommaso Stella, Haynes Stephens, Heidi Webber, Florian Zabel, Cynthia Rosenzweig

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

284 Citations (Scopus)
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Potential climate-related impacts on future crop yield are a major societal concern. Previous projections of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project’s Global Gridded Crop Model Intercomparison based on the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 identified substantial climate impacts on all major crops, but associated uncertainties were substantial. Here we report new twenty-first-century projections using ensembles of latest-generation crop and climate models. Results suggest markedly more pessimistic yield responses for maize, soybean and rice compared to the original ensemble. Mean end-of-century maize productivity is shifted from +5% to −6% (SSP126) and from +1% to −24% (SSP585)—explained by warmer climate projections and improved crop model sensitivities. In contrast, wheat shows stronger gains (+9% shifted to +18%, SSP585), linked to higher CO2 concentrations and expanded high-latitude gains. The ‘emergence’ of climate impacts consistently occurs earlier in the new projections—before 2040 for several main producing regions. While future yield estimates remain uncertain, these results suggest that major breadbasket regions will face distinct anthropogenic climatic risks sooner than previously anticipated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)873-885
Number of pages13
JournalNature Food
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


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