Keywords: global warming, wheat production, Argentina, climate change, crop productivity, crop simulation, modelling, wheat yields, CO2 emissions, carbon dioxide
Climate change and wheat production in Argentina
The aim of this work is to assess the impact of past and future climate changes on wheat productivity in the Pampas region of Argentina. The study was based on long-term climatic and crop productivity data, regional climatic scenarios and a crop simulation model. Our results demonstrate that the potential wheat yield has been declining at increasing rates since 1930 mainly due to minimum temperature increases. Further increases in temperature could lead to potential wheat yield reductions of 7.5% for each °C of temperature rise. If the expected effects of CO2 really do occur, the decline of the potential wheat yields due to temperatures that are 2.5°C warmer could be entirely offset by a CO2 concentration of 550 ppm. If the CO2 effects are not considered, rainfed wheat yields could be reduced by 4% by the end of the 21st century (2080), the northern part of the Pampas region being the most affected zone. Inversely, if the CO2 effects are considered, rainfed wheat yield could increase by 14%. Advancing planting dates could be a good strategy to take advantage of new environmental conditions with prolonged frost-free periods.