, Volume 70, Issue 1-2, pp 137-164

Impacts of Present and Future Climate Change and Climate Variability on Agriculture in the Temperate Regions: North America

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Abstract

The potential impact of climate variability and climate change on agricultural production in the United States and Canada varies generally by latitude. Largest reductions are projected in southern crop areas due to increased temperatures and reduced water availability. A longer growing season and projected increases in CO2 may enhance crop yields in northern growing areas. Major factors in these scenarios analyzes are increased drought tendencies and more extreme weather events, both of which are detrimental to agriculture. Increasing competition for water between agriculture and non-agricultural users also focuses attention on water management issues. Agriculture also has impact on the greenhouse gas balance. Forests and soils are natural sinks for CO2. Removal of forests and changes in land use, associated with the conversion from rural to urban domains, alters these natural sinks. Agricultural livestock and rice cultivation are leading contributors to methane emission into the atmosphere. The application of fertilizers is also a significant contributor to nitrous oxide emission into the atmosphere. Thus, efficient management strategies in agriculture can play an important role in managing the sources and sinks of greenhouse gases. Forest and land management can be effective tools in mitigating the greenhouse effect.