East African food security as influenced by future climate change and land use change at local to regional scales

Abstract

Climate change impacts food production systems, particularly in locations with large, vulnerable populations. Elevated greenhouse gases (GHG), as well as land cover/land use change (LCLUC), can influence regional climate dynamics. Biophysical factors such as topography, soil type, and seasonal rainfall can strongly affect crop yields. We used a regional climate model derived from the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS) to compare the effects of projected future GHG and future LCLUC on spatial variability of crop yields in East Africa. Crop yields were estimated with a process-based simulation model. The results suggest that: (1) GHG-influenced and LCLUC-influenced yield changes are highly heterogeneous across this region; (2) LCLUC effects are significant drivers of yield change; and (3) high spatial variability in yield is indicated for several key agricultural sub-regions of East Africa. Food production risk when considered at the household scale is largely dependent on the occurrence of extremes, so mean yield in some cases may be an incomplete predictor of risk. The broad range of projected crop yields reflects enormous variability in key parameters that underlie regional food security; hence, donor institutions’ strategies and investments might benefit from considering the spatial distribution around mean impacts for a given region. Ultimately, global assessments of food security risk would benefit from including regional and local assessments of climate impacts on food production. This may be less of a consideration in other regions. This study supports the concept that LCLUC is a first-order factor in assessing food production risk.

References

  1. Africover (2002) Africover—Eastern Africa module. Land cover mapping based on satellite remote sensing. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Available at http://www.africover.org/download/documents/Short_Project_description_en.pdf

  2. Allard J, Carleton AM (2010) Mesoscale associations between midwest land surface properties and convective cloud development in the warm season. Phys Geogr 31:107–136

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Anyah RO, Semazzi FHM (2007) Variability of East African rainfall based on multiyearRegCM3 simulations. Int J Climatol 27:357–371

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Anyah RO, Semazzi FHM, Xie L (2006) Simulated physical mechanisms associated with climate variability over Lake Victoria basin in East Africa. Mon Weather Rev 134:3588–3609

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Batjes NH, Bridges EM (1994) Potential emissions of radiatively active trace gases from soil to atmosphere with special reference to methane: development of a global data base (WISE). J Geophys Res 99(D8)16:479–489

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Black E (2005) The relationship between Indian Ocean sea-surface temperature and East African rainfall. Philos Trans R Soc A 363(1826):43–47

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Black E, Slingo J, Sperber KR (2003) An observational study of the relationship between excessively strong short rains in coastal east Africa and Indian ocean SST. Mon Weather Rev 131:74–94

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Boko M, Niang I, Nyong A, Vogel C, Githeko A, Medany M, Osman-Elasha B, Tabo R, Yanda P (2007) Africa: climate change 2007: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. In: Parry ML, Canziani OF, Palutikof JP, van der Linden PJ, Hanson CE (eds) Contribution of working group II to the 4th assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 433–467

    Google Scholar 

  9. Boote KJ, Sinclair TR (2006) Crop physiology: significant discoveries and our changing perspective on research. Crop Sci 46:2270–2277

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Boote KJ, Jones JW, Pickering NB (1996) Potential uses and limitations of crop models. Agron J 88:704–716

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Boote KJ, Allen LH, Vara Prasad Jr PV, Jones JW (2010) Testing effects of climate change in crop models. In: Hillel D, Rosenzweig C (eds) Handbook of climate change and agroecosystems. Imperial College Press, London, pp 109–129

    Google Scholar 

  12. Boyer JS (1982) Plant productivity and environment. Science 218:443–448

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Burke MB, Lobell DB, Guarino L (2009) Shifts in African crop climates by 2050, and the implications for crop improvement and genetic resources conservation. Glob Environ Change 19(3):317–325

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Camberlin P, Philippon N (2002) The East African March–May rainy season: associated atmospheric dynamics and predictability over the 1968–97 period. J Climate 15:1002–1019

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Charney J, Quirk WJ, Chow S, Kornfield J (1977) A comparative study of the effects of albedo change on drought in semi-arid regions. J Atmos Sci 34:1366–1385

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Collins WD, Bitz CM, Blackmon ML, Bonan GB, Bretherton CS, Carton JA, Chang P, Doney SC, Hack JJ, Henderson TB, Kiehl JT, Large WG, McKenna DS, Santer BD, Smith RD (2006) The community climate system model: CCSM3. J Clim 19:2122–2143

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Cotton WR, Coauthors (2003) RAMS 2001: current status and future directions. Meteorol Atmos Phys 82:5

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Diffenbaugh N, Pal JS, Trapp RJ, Giorgi F (2005) Fine-scale processes regulate the response of extreme events to global climate change. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 102(44):15774–15778

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) (1978) Report on the agro-ecological zones project—volume 1: methodology and results for Africa. FAO, Rome Italy. World Soil Resources Project 48, p 158

  20. FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) (1995) Digital soils map of the world and derived soil properties V 3.5. Land and Water Digital Media Series 1, FAO, Rome

  21. Feddema JJ, Oleson KW, Bonan GB, Mearns LO, Buja LE, Meehl GA, Washington WM (2005) The importance of land cover change in simulating future climates. Science 310:1674

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Funk C, Senay G, Asfaw A, Verdin J, Rowland J, Korecha D, Eilerts G, Michaelsen J, Amer S, Choularton R (2005) Recent drought tendencies in Ethiopia and equatorial-subtropical Eastern Africa. Famine early warning network and US Agency for International Development, Washington, p 15

    Google Scholar 

  23. Funk C, Dettinger M, Michaelsen J, Verdin J, Brown M, Barlow M, Hoell A (2008) Warming of the Indian Ocean threatens eastern and southern African food security but could be mitigated by agricultural development. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105:11081. doi:10.1073/pnas.0708196105

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Gijsman AJ, Thornton PK, Hoogenboom G (2007) Using WISE database to parameterize soil inputs for crop simulation models. Comput Electron Agric 56:85–100

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Hay R, Porter JR (2006) The physiology of crop yield, 2nd edn. Blackwell, Oxford, p 328. ISBN 9781405108591

    Google Scholar 

  26. Hijmans, RJ, Cameron SE, Parra JL, Jones PG, Jarvis A (2005) Very high resolution interpolated climate surfaces for global land areas. Int J Climatol 25:1965–1978

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Hulme M, Doherty R, Ngara T, New M, Lister D (2001) African climate change: 1900–2100. Clim Res 17:145–168

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. ICASA (2007) The International Consortium for Agricultural Systems Applications website. Available at http://www.icasa.net/index.html

  29. Jones PG, Thornton PK (2000) MarkSim: software to generate daily weather data for Latin America and Africa. Agron J 92(2000):445–453

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Jones PG, Thornton PK (2003) The potential impacts of climate change on maize production in Africa and Latin America in 2055. Glob Environ Change 13:51–59

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Jones JW, Hoogenboom G, Porter CH, Boote KJ, Batchelor WD, Hunt LA, Wilkens PW, Singh U, Gijsman AJ, Ritchie JT (2003) The DSSAT cropping system model. Eur J Agron 18:235–265

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Kain JS, Fritsch JM (1993) Convective parameterization for mesoscale. models: the Kain–Fritsch scheme. Meteorol Monogr 24:165

    Google Scholar 

  33. Li Z, Mölders N (2008) Interaction of impacts of doubling CO2 and changing regional land-cover on evaporation, precipitation, and runoff at global and regional scales. Int J Climatol 28:1653–1679

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Livermore MTJ, Parry ML, Rosenzweig C, Iglesias A, Fisher G (2003) Global food security and the IPCC SRES: assessing the threat from climate change in several equi-plausible worlds. Glob Environ Change 14:3–20

    Google Scholar 

  35. Lobell D, Field C (2007) Global scale climate-crop yield relationships and the impacts of recent warming. Environ Res Lett 2:014002

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Lobell D, Burke M, Tebaldi C, Mastrandrea M, Falcon W, Naylor R (2008) Prioritizing climate change adaptation needs for food security for 2030. Science 319:607–610

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Lofgren BM (1995) Surface albedo-climate feedback simulated using two-way coupling. J Clim 8:2543–2562

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Maynard K, Royer J-F (2004) Effects of “realistic” land-cover change on a greenhouse-warmed African climate. Clim Dyn 22:343–358. doi:10.1007/s00382-003-0371-z

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Moore N, Torbick N, Pijanowski B, Lofgren B, Wang J, Kim D-Y, Andresen J (2009) Adapting MODIS-derived LAI and fractional cover into the RAMS model for East Africa, in revision at International Journal of Climate

  40. Mundia CN, Aniya M (2005) Analysis of land use changes and urban expansion of Nairobi City using remote sensing and geographical information systems. Int J Remote Sens 26(13):2831–2849

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Mutai CC, Ward MN (2000) East African rainfall and the tropical circulation/ convection on intraseasonal to interannual timescales. J Clim 13:3915–3939

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Neilson RP, Drapek RJ (1998) Potentially complex biosphere responses to transient global warming. Glob Chang Biol 4:505–521

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Oettli P, Sultan B, Baron C, Vrac M (2011) Are regional climate models relevant for crop yield prediction in West Africa? Environ Res Lett 6:014008

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Ogallo LA (1989) The spatial and temporal pattern of the East African seasonal rainfall derived from principal component analysis. Int J Climatol 9:145–167

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Olson JM, Misana SM, Campbell DJ, Mbonile MJ, Mugisha S (2004) The spatial pattern and root causes of land use change in East Africa. LUCID Working Paper 47, International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya

  46. Olson JM, Alagarswamy G, Andresen JA, Campbell DJ, Davis AY, Ge J, Huebner M, Lofgren BM, Lusch DP, Moore NJ, Pijanowski BC, Qi J, Thornton PK, Torbick NM, Wang J (2007) Integrating diverse methods to understand climate–land interactions in East Africa. Geoforum. doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2007.03.011

  47. Parry M (1990) The potential impact on agriculture of the greenhouse effect. Land Use Policy 7:109–123

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Parry M, Rosenzweig C, Iglesias A, Fischer G, Livermore M (1999) Climate change and world food security: a new assessment. Glob Environ Change 9:51–67

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Parry ML, Rosenzweig C, Iglesias A, Livermore M, Fischer G (2004) Effects of climate change on global food production under SRES emissions and socio-economic scenarios. Glob Environ Change 14:53–67. doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2003.10.008

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Pielke RA, Marland G, Betts RA, Chase TN, Eastman JL, Niles JO, Niyogi DDS, Running SW (2002) The influence of land-use change and landscape dynamics on the climate system: relevance to climate-change policy beyond the radiative effect of greenhouse gases. Philos Trans R Soc Lond, Ser A 360:1705–1719

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Pielke Sr RA, Adegoke J, Beltran-Przekurat A, Hiemstra CA, Lin J, Nair US, Niyogi D, Nobis TE (2007) An overview of regional land-use and land-cover impacts on rainfall. Tellus 59B:587–601

    Google Scholar 

  52. Pijanowski B, Brown D, Shellito B, Manik G (2002) Using neural networks and GIS to forecast land use changes: a land transformation model. Comput Environ Urban Syst 26:553–575

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Pijanowski B, Pithadia S, Shellito B, Alexandridis K (2005) Calibrating a neural network-based urban change model for two metropolitan areas of the Upper Midwest of the USA. Int J Geogr Inf Sci 19:197–215

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Pijanowski B, Davis A, Robinson K (2009) Error propagation in coupled regional land-climate models: 1. Quantifying aggregate spatial errors from a land change model to a regional atmospheric model. In Revision at IJGIS

  55. Ritchie JT, Singh U, Godwin DC, Bowen WT (1998) Cereal growth, development and yield. In: Tsuji GY, Hoogenboom G, Thornton PK (eds) Understanding options for agricultural production. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 79–98

    Google Scholar 

  56. Rosegrant MW, Co-Authors (2005) Looking ahead: long term prospects for Africa’s agricultural development and food security. International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC

  57. Semazzi FHM, Song Y (2001) A GCM study of climate change induced by deforestation in Africa. Clim Res 17:169–182

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Seneviratne SI, Lüthi D, Litschi M, Schär C (2006) Land-atmosphere coupling and climate change in Europe. Nature 443:205–209

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Serneels S, Linderman M, Lambin EF (2007) A multilevel analysis of the impact of land use on interannual land-cover change in East Africa. Ecosystems 10:402–418

    Article  Google Scholar 

  60. Thornton PK, Jones PG, Owiyo T, Kruska RL, Herrero M, Orindi V, Bhadwal S, Kristjanson P, Notenbaert A, Bekele N, Omolo A (2008) Climate change and povert in Africa: mapping hotspots of vulnerability. African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 2(1):24–44

    Google Scholar 

  61. Thornton PK, Jones PG, Alagarswamy G, Andresen J (2009) Spatial variation of crop yield response to climate change in East Africa. Glob Environ Change 19:54–65

    Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Tiffin R, Xavier I (2006) Is agriculture the engine of growth? Agric Econ 35:79–89

    Article  Google Scholar 

  63. Torbick N, Lusch D, Qi J, Moore N, Olson J, Ge J (2006) Developing land use/land cover parameterization for climate and land modelling in East Africa. Int J Remote Sens 27(19):4227–4244

    Article  Google Scholar 

  64. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2007) World population prospects: the 2006 revision. United Nations publications, ST/ESA/ SER.A/266

  65. Walko R, Coauthors (2000) Coupled atmosphere–biophysics–hydrology models for environmental modeling. J Appl Meteorol 39:931

  66. Wang J, Yang L (2007) Efficient and fast spline-backfitted kernel smoothing of additive models. Ann Inst Stat Math. doi:10.1007/s10463-007-0157-x

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Nathan Moore.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0), which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Moore, N., Alagarswamy, G., Pijanowski, B. et al. East African food security as influenced by future climate change and land use change at local to regional scales. Climatic Change 110, 823–844 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-011-0116-7

Download citation

Keywords

  • Regional Climate Model
  • Maize Yield
  • Crop Model
  • Yield Change
  • Community Climate System Model