Climate change is a serious threat to crop productivity in regions that are already food insecure. We assessed the projected impacts of climate change on the yield of eight major crops in Africa and South Asia using a systematic review and meta-analysis of data in 52 original publications from an initial screen of 1144 studies. Here we show that the projected mean change in yield of all crops is − 8% by the 2050s in both regions. Across Africa, mean yield changes of − 17% (wheat), − 5% (maize), − 15% (sorghum) and − 10% (millet) and across South Asia of − 16% (maize) and − 11% (sorghum) were estimated. No mean change in yield was detected for rice. The limited number of studies identified for cassava, sugarcane and yams precluded any opportunity to conduct a meta-analysis for these crops. Variation about the projected mean yield change for all crops was smaller in studies that used an ensemble of > 3 climate (GCM) models. Conversely, complex simulation studies that used biophysical crop models showed the greatest variation in mean yield changes. Evidence of crop yield impact in Africa and South Asia is robust for wheat, maize, sorghum and millet, and either inconclusive, absent or contradictory for rice, cassava and sugarcane.
Knox, J.; Hess, T.; Daccache, A.; Wheeler, T. Climate change impacts on crop productivity in Africa and South Asia. Environmental Research Letters (2012) 7 (3) 034032 (8 pp.) [DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/7/3/034032]