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Improving the use of modelling for projections of climate change impacts on crops and pastures

Soussana, Jean-François, Graux, Anne-Isabelle, Tubiello, Francesco N.
Journal of experimental botany 2010 v.61 no.8 pp. 2217-2228
climate, climate change, climate models, crop models, crops, food supply, genetic variation, greenhouse gas emissions, pastures, risk assessment, soil nutrients, temperature, weeds
Projections of climate change impacts on global food supply are largely based on crop and pasture modelling. The consistency of these models with experimental data and their ability to simulate the effects of elevated CO₂ and of increased climate variability has been debated. The effects of high temperatures, of increased climate variability and of several limiting factors which interact with elevated CO₂ such as soil nutrients, pests and weeds are neither fully understood nor well implemented in leading models. Targeted model developments will be required based on experimental data concerning: (i) the role of extreme climatic events, (ii) the interactions between abiotic factors and elevated CO₂, (iii) the genetic variability in plant CO₂ and temperature responses, (iv) the interactions with biotic factors, and (v) the effects on harvest quality. To help make better use of the available knowledge, it is envisioned that future crop and pasture modelling studies will need to use a risk assessment approach by combining an ensemble of greenhouse gas emission (or stabilization) scenarios, of regional climate models and of crop and pasture models, as well as an ensemble of adaptation options concerning both management practices and species/varieties.