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The impact of weather and increased atmospheric CO2 from 1892 to 2016 on simulated yields of UK wheat

Addy, J. W. G., Ellis, R. H., Macdonald, A. J., Semenov, M. A. and Mead, A. (2021) The impact of weather and increased atmospheric CO2 from 1892 to 2016 on simulated yields of UK wheat. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 18 (179). 20210250. ISSN 1742-5662

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2021.0250

Abstract/Summary

Climate change effects on UK winter wheat grain yield are complex: warmer temperature, negative; greater carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration, positive; but other environmental variables and their timing also affect yield. In the absence of long-term experiments where temperature and CO2 concentration were manipulated separately, we applied the crop simulation model Sirius with long-term daily meteorological data (1892-2016) for Rothamsted, Hertfordshire, UK (2007-2016 mean growing season temperature 1.03°C warmer than 1892-1991), and CO2 concentration over this period, to investigate the separate effects of historic CO2 and weather on simulated grain yield in three wheat cultivars of the modern era. We show a slight decline in simulated yield over the period 1892-2016 from the effect of weather (daily temperature, rainfall, and sunshine hours) at fixed CO2 (294.50 ppm, 1892 reference value), but a maximum 9.4% increase when accounting for increasing atmospheric CO2 (from 294.50 to 404.21 ppm), differing slightly amongst cultivars. Notwithstanding considerable inter-annual variation, the slight yield decline at 294.50 ppm CO2 over this 125-year period from the historic weather simulations for Rothamsted agrees with the expected decline from temperature increase alone, but the positive yield trend with actual CO2 values does not match the recent stagnation in UK wheat yield.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Biodiversity, Crops and Agroecosystems Division > Crops Research Group
ID Code:98896
Uncontrolled Keywords:atmospheric CO2, climate change, wheat grain yield, temperature, meteorological data
Publisher:Royal Society

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