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Climate change, weather variability and corn yield at a higher latitude locale: Southwestern Quebec


Climate change has led to increased temperatures, and simulation models suggest that this should affect crop production in important agricultural regions of the world. Nations at higher latitudes, such as Canada, will be most affected. We studied the relationship between climate variability (temperature and precipitation) and corn yield trends over a period of 33 years for the Monteregie region of south-western Quebec using historical yield and climate records and statistical models. Growing season mean temperature has increased in Monterregie, mainly due to increased September temperature. Precipitation did not show any clear trend over the 33 year period. Yield increased about 118 kg ha−1 year−1 from 1973 to 2005 (under normal weather conditions) due mainly to changes in technology (genetics and management). Two climate variables were strongly associated with corn yield variability: July temperature and May precipitation. These two variables explain more than a half of yield variability associated with climate. In conclusion, July temperatures below normal and May precipitation above normal have negative effects on corn yield, and the growing seasons have warmed, largely due to increases in the September temperature.

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Correspondence to Donald L. Smith.

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Almaraz, J.J., Mabood, F., Zhou, X. et al. Climate change, weather variability and corn yield at a higher latitude locale: Southwestern Quebec. Climatic Change 88, 187–197 (2008).

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  • July Temperature
  • Yield Variability
  • Corn Yield
  • Grow Season Temperature
  • Weather Variability