Simulating impacts, potential adaptation and vulnerability of maize to climate change in India

Abstract

Climate change associated global warming, rise in carbon dioxide concentration and uncertainties in precipitation has profound implications on Indian agriculture. Maize (Zea mays L.), the third most important cereal crop in India, has a major role to play in country’s food security. Thus, it is important to analyze the consequence of climate change on maize productivity in major maize producing regions in India and elucidate potential adaptive strategy to minimize the adverse effects. Calibrated and validated InfoCrop-MAIZE model was used for analyzing the impacts of increase in temperature, carbon dioxide (CO2) and change in rainfall apart from HadCM3 A2a scenario for 2020, 2050 and 2080. The main insights from the analysis are threefold. First, maize yields in monsoon are projected to be adversely affected due to rise in atmospheric temperature; but increased rainfall can partly offset those loses. During winter, maize grain yield is projected to reduced with increase in temperature in two of the regions (Mid Indo-Gangetic Plains or MIGP, and Southern Plateau or SP), but in the Upper Indo-Gangetic Plain (UIGP), where relatively low temperatures prevail during winter, yield increased up to a 2.7°C rise in temperature. Variation in rainfall may not have a major impact on winter yields, as the crop is already well irrigated. Secondly, the spatio-temporal variations in projected changes in temperature and rainfall are likely to lead to differential impacts in the different regions. In particular, monsoon yield is reduced most in SP (up to 35%), winter yield is reduced most in MIGP (up to 55%), while UIGP yields are relatively unaffected. Third, developing new cultivars with growth pattern in changed climate scenarios similar to that of current varieties in present conditions could be an advantageous adaptation strategy for minimizing the vulnerability of maize production in India.

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Acknowledgement

Grateful to Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, India for funding the project “Assessing Vulnerability of the crop production to increasing climatic risk associated with Global Environmental Change”.

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Correspondence to Kattarkandi Byjesh.

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Byjesh, K., Kumar, S.N. & Aggarwal, P.K. Simulating impacts, potential adaptation and vulnerability of maize to climate change in India. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Change 15, 413–431 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11027-010-9224-3

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Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Maize
  • Impacts
  • Adaptation
  • Vulnerability
  • Zea mays