What is in this article?:
- The impacts of climate change in arid areas will be mostly driven by changes in water scarcity. Even with relatively unchanged average rainfall, changes in the timing of precipitation will cause supply shortages.
- California is an example of the likely effect of climate change on agriculture in an arid region with a postindustrial economy. California agriculture is heavily dependent on irrigation so it may offer lessons for adaptation to climate change that can be applied to irrigated agriculture in other arid regions.
The take-home message is that a contracting total area in agricultural production and decreases in water availability and yields due to climate change are offset by increased yields due to technological change, and increasing prices of select crops. The shift in agricultural production still results in an increase of agricultural revenues relative to 2005, although relatively less than the increase in revenues under a no climate change scenario. California's Central Valley becomes a smaller, but still more profitable, agricultural production region by 2050.
For more information
Adams, R. M., Wu, J., and Houston, L. L. (2003). Climate Change and California, Appendix IX: The effects of climate change on yields and water use of major California crops. Sacramento, CA: California Energy Commission Public Interest Energy Research.
Alston, J., and Pardey, P. (2009). Theme Overview: Agricultural productivity and Food Security in the Long run. Choices, 24.
Bloom, A. J. (2006). Rising carbon dioxide concentrations and the future of crop production. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 86(9), 1289-1291.
Brunke, H., Sumner, D., and Howitt, R. E. (2004). Future Food Production and Consumptionin California Under Alternative Scenarios. Davis, CA: Agricultural Issues Center, University of California.
Cayan, D. R., Maurer, E. P., Dettinger, M. D., Tyree, M., and Hayhoe, K. (2008). Climate change scenarios for the California region. Climatic Change, 87, S21-S42.
Draper, A. J., Jenkins, M. W., Kirby, K. W., Lund, J. R., and Howitt, R. E. (2003). Economic-engineering optimization for California water management. Journal Of Water Resources Planning And Management, 129(3), 155-164.
Howitt, R. E., Medellin-Azuara, J., and MacEwan, D. (2009). Estimating Economic Impacts of Agricultural Yield Related Changes. Sacramento, CA: California Energy Commission Public Interest Energy Research.
Howitt, R. E., Ward, K. B., and Msangi, S. (2001). Statewide Agricultural Production Model (SWAP) (Appendix A). Davis, California: Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. University of California.
Lee, J., De Gryze, S., and Six, J. (2009). Effect of Climate Change on Field Crop Production in the Central Valley of California. Sacramento, California: California Energy Commission Public Interest Energy Research.
Lobell, D. B., Cahill, K. N., and Field, C. B. (2007). Historical effects of temperature and precipitation on California crop yields. Climatic Change, 81(2), 187-203.
Medellin-Azuara, J., Connell, C. R., Madani, K., Lund, J. R. and Howitt, R. E. (2008). Water Management Adaptation with Climate Change. Sacramento, CA: California Energy Commission Public Interest Energy Research.
Medellin-Azuara, J., Howitt, R. E., MacEwan, D., and Lund, J.R., (2010). Economic Impacts of Climate Change on Agriculture in California. Climatic Change. Under Review.