Methodology to assess the changing risk of yield failure due to heat and drought stress under climate change

Letter


Stella, Tommaso, Webber, Heidi, Olesen, Jørgen E, Ruane, Alex C, Fronzek, Stefan, Bregaglio, Simone, Mamidanna, Sravya, Bindi, Marco, Collins, Brian, Faye, Babacar, Ferrise, Roberto, Fodor, Nandor, Gabaldón-Leal, Clara, Jabloun, Mohamed, Kersebaum, Kurt-Christian, Lizaso, Jon I, Lorite, Ignacio J, Manceau, Loic, Martre, Pierre, ..., Ewert, Frank. 2021. "Methodology to assess the changing risk of yield failure due to heat and drought stress under climate change." Environmental Research Letters. 16 (10). https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ac2196
Article Title

Methodology to assess the changing risk of yield failure due to heat and drought stress under climate change

ERA Journal ID36365
Article CategoryLetter
AuthorsStella, Tommaso, Webber, Heidi, Olesen, Jørgen E, Ruane, Alex C, Fronzek, Stefan, Bregaglio, Simone, Mamidanna, Sravya, Bindi, Marco, Collins, Brian, Faye, Babacar, Ferrise, Roberto, Fodor, Nandor, Gabaldón-Leal, Clara, Jabloun, Mohamed, Kersebaum, Kurt-Christian, Lizaso, Jon I, Lorite, Ignacio J, Manceau, Loic, Martre, Pierre, Nendel, Claas, Rodríguez, Alfredo, Ruiz-Ramos, Margarita, Semenov, Mikhail A, Stratonovitch, Pierre and Ewert, Frank
Journal TitleEnvironmental Research Letters
Journal Citation16 (10)
Article Number104033
Number of Pages17
Year2021
PublisherIOP Publishing
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN1748-9326
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ac2196
Web Address (URL)https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ac2196
Abstract

While the understanding of average impacts of climate change on crop yields is improving, few assessments have quantified expected impacts on yield distributions and the risk of yield failures. Here we present the relative distribution as a method to assess how the risk of yield failure due to heat and drought stress (measured in terms of return period between yields falling 15% below previous five year Olympic average yield) responds to changes of the underlying yield distributions under climate change. Relative distributions are used to capture differences in the entire yield distribution between baseline and climate change scenarios, and to further decompose them into changes in the location and shape of the distribution. The methodology is applied here for the case of rainfed wheat and grain maize across Europe using an ensemble of crop models under three climate change scenarios with simulations conducted at 25 km resolution. Under climate change, maize generally displayed shorter return periods of yield failures (with changes under RCP 4.5 between −0.3 and 0 years compared to the baseline scenario) associated with a shift of the yield distribution towards lower values and changes in shape of the distribution that further reduced the frequency of high yields. This response was prominent in the areas characterized in the baseline scenario by high yields and relatively long return periods of failure. Conversely, for wheat, yield failures were projected to become less frequent under future scenarios (with changes in the return period of −0.1 to +0.4 years under RCP 4.5) and were associated with a shift of the distribution towards higher values and a change in shape increasing the frequency of extreme yields at both ends. Our study offers an approach to quantify the changes in yield distributions that drive crop yield failures. Actual risk assessments additionally require models that capture the variety of drivers determining crop yield variability and scenario climate input data that samples the range of probable climate variation.

Keywords climate risk assessment; relative distribution; crop model; maize; wheat; climate change impact
Article Publishing Charge (APC) FundingProject Funding
Contains Sensitive ContentDoes not contain sensitive content
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020410199. Climate change impacts and adaptation not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsJames Cook University
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