Climatic Change

, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 131–172 | Cite as

Comparison of Agricultural Impacts of Climate Change Calculated from High and Low Resolution Climate Change Scenarios: Part I. The Uncertainty Due to Spatial Scale

  • L. O. Mearns
  • W. Easterling
  • C. Hays
  • D. Marx


We investigated the effect of two different spatial scales of climate change scenarios on crop yields simulated by the EPIC crop model for corn, soybean, and wheat, in the central Great Plains of the United States. The effect of climate change alone was investigated in Part I. In Part II (Easterling et al., 2001) we considered the effects ofCO2 fertilization effects and adaptation in addition to climate change. The scenarios were formed from five years of control and 2 ×CO2 runs of a high resolution regional climate model (RegCM) and the same from an Australian coarse resolution general circulation model (GCM), which provided the initial and lateral boundary conditions for the regional model runs. We also investigated the effect of two different spatial resolutions of soil input parameters to the crop models. We found that for corn and soybean in the eastern part of the study area, significantly different mean yield changes were calculated depending on the scenario used. Changes in simulated dryland wheat yields in the western areas were very similar, regardless of the scale of the scenario. The spatial scale of soils had a strong effect on the spatial variance and pattern of yields across the study area, but less effect on the mean aggregated yields. We investigated what aspects of the differences in the scenarios were most important for explaining the different simulated yield responses. For instance, precipitation changes in June were most important for corn and soybean in the eastern CSIRO grid boxes. We establish the spatial scale of climate changescenarios as an important uncertainty for climate change impacts analysis.


Spatial Scale Regional Climate Model Climate Change Impact Climate Change Scenario Wheat Yield 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. O. Mearns
    • 1
  • W. Easterling
    • 2
  • C. Hays
    • 3
  • D. Marx
    • 3
  1. 1.National Center for Atmospheric ResearchBoulderU.S.A
  2. 2.Pennsylvania State UniversityCollege ParkU.S.A
  3. 3.University of NebraskaLincolnU.S.A

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