Divining Future Winter Wheat Yields in the United Kingdom
Cho, K., Falloon, P., Gornall, J., Betts, R. and Clark, R. 2012. Winter wheat yields in the UK: uncertainties in climate and management impacts. Climate Research 54: 49-68.
The five UK researchers report that their "sensitivity analyses of climate variables on future winter wheat yield in the UK generally indicated positive impacts from climate change," where "increases in temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentrations appear to contribute positive impacts on potential yield, greater than from increases in precipitation. As indicated in the Table below, although some of the southern regions suggest a potential decline in future wheat yields, that finding "may not be critical for wheat production in the UK as a whole, as losses in some regions are more than compensated by gains in others [italics added]."
Observed and future UK winter wheat production and changes compared to the baseline using the unperturbed climate simulation. NS: Northern Scotland, WS: Western Scotland, ES: Eastern Scotland, NI: Northern Ireland, NW: North West England, NE: North East England, YH: Yorkshire and Humberside, Wa: Wales, WM: West Midlands, EE: East England, EM: East Midlands, SE: South East England, and SW: South West England. Adapted from Cho et al. (2012).
Focusing in on the future effects of atmospheric CO2, they note that the CERES-Wheat model simulated "only positive feedbacks from the physiological effects of increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations on crop growth and water use," in harmony with the earlier findings of Rosenzweig et al. (1994), adding that "in the absence of CO2 fertilisation, yield decreases may appear likely in some regions [italics added]."
Given such findings, it would appear that even the worst-case climate-change scenarios concocted by the world's climate modelers are insufficient to overpower the positive effects of atmospheric CO2 enrichment on country-wide winter wheat yields in the UK. And those positive effects will not be limited to this one crop in this one location, for the growth-enhancing benefits of atmospheric CO2 enrichment will enhance the future yields of all crops, everywhere!
Jenkins, G.J., Murphy, J.M., Sexton, D.S., Lowe, J.A., Jones, P. and Kilsby, C.G. 2009. UK Climate Projections: Briefing Report. Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, UK.
Rosenzweig, C., Parry, M.L., Fischer, G. and Frohberg, K. 1994. Climate Change and World Food Supply. Research Report No. 3. Environmental Change Unit, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.