Climatic Change

, Volume 151, Issue 2, pp 205–217 | Cite as

The impact of future climate change and potential adaptation methods on Maize yields in West Africa

  • Ben ParkesEmail author
  • Benjamin Sultan
  • Philippe Ciais


Maize (Zea mays) is one of the staple crops of West Africa and is therefore of high importance with regard to future food security. The ability of West Africa to produce enough food is critical as the population is expected to increase well into the twenty-first century. In this study, a process-based crop model is used to project maize yields in Africa for global temperatures 2 K and 4 K above the preindustrial control. This study investigates how yields and crop failure rates are influenced by climate change and the efficacy of adaptation methods to mitigate the effects of climate change. To account for the uncertainties in future climate projections, multiple model runs have been performed at specific warming levels of + 2 K and + 4 K to give a better estimate of future crop yields. Under a warming of + 2 K, the maize yield is projected to reduce by 5.9% with an increase in both mild and severe crop failure rates. Mild and severe crop failures are yields 1 and 1.5 standard deviations below the observed yield. At a warming of + 4 K, the results show a yield reduction of 37% and severe crop failures which previously only occurred once in 19.7 years are expected to happen every 2.5 years. Crops simulated with a resistance to high temperature stress show an increase in yields in all climate conditions compared to unadapted crops; however, they still experience more crop failures than the unadapted crop in the control climate.



The authors also wish to thank Julian Ramirez-Villegas for his help in developing the experimental methods.

Funding information

The research leading to these results has received financial support from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007-2013 under grant agreement no 603864. (HELIX: High-End cLimate Impacts and eXtremes; PC is financially supported by the European Research Council Synergy grant ERC-2013-SyG-610028 IMBALANCE-P.

Supplementary material

10584_2018_2290_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (203 kb)
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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.(UPMC, University of Paris 06)-CNRS-IRD-MNHN LOCEAN/IPSLSorbonne UniversitésParisFrance
  2. 2.ESPACE-DEVUniv. Montpellier, IRD, Univ. Guyane, Univ. Réunion, Univ. Antilles, Univ. AvignonMontpellierFrance
  3. 3.IPSL - LSCE, CEA CNRS UVSQ UPSaclayCentre d’Etudes Orme des MerisiersGif sur YvetteFrance
  4. 4.School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil EngineeringUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

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