We examined the impacts on U.S. agriculture of transient climate change as simulated by 2 global general circulation models focusing on the decades of the 2030’s and 2090’s. We examined historical shifts in the location of crops and trends in the variability of U.S. average crop yields, finding that non-climatic forces have likely dominated the north and westward movement of crops and the trend toward declining yield variability. For the simulated future climates we considered impacts on crops, grazing and pasture, livestock, pesticide use, irrigation water supply and demand, and the sensitivity to international trade assumptions, finding that the aggregate of these effects were positive for the U.S. consumer but negative, due to declining crop prices, for producers. We examined the effects of potential changes in El Niño/Southern Oscillaton (ENSO) and impacts on yield variability of changes in mean climate conditions. Increased losses occurred with ENSO intensity and frequency increases that could not be completely offset even with perfect forecasts of the events. Effects on yield variability of changes in mean temperatures were mixed. We also considered case study interactions of climate, agriculture, and the environment focusing on climate effects on nutrient loading to the Chesapeake Bay and groundwater depletion of the Edward’s Aquifer that provides water for municipalities and agriculture to the San Antonio, Texas area. While only case studies, these results suggest environmental targets such as pumping limits and changes in farm practices to limit nutrient run-off would need to be tightened if current environmental goals were to be achieved under the climate scenarios we examined.

Author names: 
Reilly, J.
Tubiello, F.
Mccarl, B.
Abler, D.
Darwin, R.
Fuglie, K.
Hollinger, S.
Rosenzweig, C.
Year: 
2003
Publisher: 
Climatic Change
Reference: 

Reilly, J., Tubiello, F., Mccarl, B., Abler, D., Darwin, R., Fuglie, K., Hollinger, S., Rosenzweig, C. 2003. US Agriculture and Climate Change: New Results. Climatic Change, 57, 43–69.

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