Impacts of 1.5 versus 2.0 °C on cereal yields in the West African Sudan Savanna

Faye, B and Webber, H and Naab, J B and MacCarthy, D S and Adam, M and Ewert, F and Lamers, J P A and Schleussner, C F and Ruane, A and Gessner, U and Hoogenboom, G and Boote, K and Shelia, V and Saeed, F and Wisser, D and Hadir, S and Laux, P and Gaiser, T (2018) Impacts of 1.5 versus 2.0 °C on cereal yields in the West African Sudan Savanna. Environmental Research Letters (TSI), 13 (3). pp. 1-13. ISSN 1748-9326

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To reduce the risks of climate change, governments agreed in the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to less than 2.0 °C above pre-industrial levels, with the ambition to keep warming to 1.5 °C. Charting appropriate mitigation responses requires information on the costs of mitigating versus associated damages for the two levels of warming. In this assessment, a critical consideration is the impact on crop yields and yield variability in regions currently challenged by food insecurity. The current study assessed impacts of 1.5 °C versus 2.0 °C on yields of maize, pearl millet and sorghum in the West African Sudan Savanna using two crop models that were calibrated with common varieties from experiments in the region with management reflecting a range of typical sowing windows. As sustainable intensification is promoted in the region for improving food security, simulations were conducted for both current fertilizer use and for an intensification case (fertility not limiting). With current fertilizer use, results indicated 2% units higher losses for maize and sorghum with 2.0 °C compared to 1.5 °C warming, with no change in millet yields for either scenario. In the intensification case, yield losses due to climate change were larger than with current fertilizer levels. However, despite the larger losses, yields were always two to three times higher with intensification, irrespective of the warming scenario. Though yield variability increased with intensification, there was no interaction with warming scenario. Risk and market analysis are needed to extend these results to understand implications for food security.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : West & Central Africa
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1.5 °C ,West Africa, food security, climate change, DSSAT, SIMPLACE, West Africa, Sudan Savanna, fertilizer, crop yields, food insecurity, maize, pearl millet, sorghum
Subjects: Others > Abiotic Stress
Others > Cereals
Mandate crops > Millets > Pearl Millet
Others > Crop Yield
Mandate crops > Sorghum
Others > Maize
Others > Climate Change
Others > African Agriculture
Others > North Africa
Others > West Africa
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2018 05:10
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2018 05:47
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: B F, H W, F E, J L, D W, S H, and T G acknowledging funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF, grant numbers 01LG1202A-I and 01LG1202A1-I1), through the West Africa Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL). F.E. additionally acknowledges support from the 392 FACCE JPI MACSUR project through the German Federal Ministry of Food and 393 Agriculture (2815ERA01J). D S M, M A K B and A R thank the AgMIP research community for their contributions to this effort, and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) for their support of AgMIP. CFS and FS acknowledge support by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (01LS1613A). G H and S V acknowledge the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) for support. A.R acknowledges support from the National Aeronautics and Space Agency Science Mission Directorate (WBS 281945. The authors would like to thank the HAPPI initiative and all participating modelling groups that have provided data. This research used science gateway resources of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, a DOE Office of Science User Facility supported by the Office of Science of the US Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC2–5CH11231.
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