Climatic Change

, Volume 57, Issue 1, pp 43-67

First online:

U.S. Agriculture and Climate Change: New Results

  • J. ReillyAffiliated withMassachusetts Institute of Technology
  • , F. TubielloAffiliated withGoddard Institute of Space Studies
  • , B. McCarlAffiliated withTexas A&M University
  • , D. AblerAffiliated withPennsylvania State University
  • , R. DarwinAffiliated withU.S. Department of Agriculture
  • , K. FuglieAffiliated withInternational Potato Center
  • , S. HollingerAffiliated withIllinois State Water Survey
  • , C. IzaurraldeAffiliated withPacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • , S. JagtapAffiliated withUniversity of Florida
    • , J. JonesAffiliated withUniversity of Florida
    • , L. MearnsAffiliated withNational Center for Atmospheric Research
    • , D. OjimaAffiliated withColorado State University
    • , E. PaulAffiliated withMichigan State University
    • , K. PaustianAffiliated withColorado State University
    • , S. RihaAffiliated withCornell University
    • , N. RosenbergAffiliated withPacific Northwest National Laboratory
    • , C. RosenzweigAffiliated withGoddard Institute of Space Studies

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We examined the impacts on U.S. agriculture of transient climate change assimulated by 2 global general circulation models focusing on the decades ofthe 2030s and 2090s. We examined historical shifts in the location of cropsand trends in the variability of U.S. average crop yields, finding thatnon-climatic forces have likely dominated the north and westward movement ofcrops and the trends in yield variability. For the simulated future climateswe considered impacts on crops, grazing and pasture, livestock, pesticide use,irrigation water supply and demand, and the sensitivity to international tradeassumptions, finding that the aggregate of these effects were positive for theU.S. consumer but negative, due to declining crop prices, for producers. Weexamined the effects of potential changes in El Niño/SouthernOscillation (ENSO) and impacts on yield variability of changes in mean climateconditions. Increased losses occurred with ENSO intensity and frequencyincreases that could not be completely offset even if the events could beperfectly forecasted. Effects on yield variability of changes in meantemperatures were mixed. We also considered case study interactions ofclimate, agriculture, and the environment focusing on climate effects onnutrient loading to the Chesapeake Bay and groundwater depletion of theEdward's Aquifer that provides water for municipalities and agriculture to theSan Antonio, Texas area. While only case studies, these results suggestenvironmental targets such as pumping limits and changes in farm practices tolimit nutrient run-off would need to be tightened if current environmentalgoals were to be achieved under the climate scenarios we examined