Methodology to assess the changing risk of yield failure due to heat and drought stress under climate change

Stella, Tommaso, Webber, Heidi, Olesen, Jorgen E., Ruane, Alex C., Fronzek, Stefan, Bregaglio, Simone, Bindi, Marco, Collins, Brian, Faye, Babacar, Ferrise, Roberto, Fodor, Nandor, Gabaldón-Leal, Clara, Jabloun, Mohamed, Kersebaum, Kurt-Christian, Lizaso, Jon I., Lorite, Ignacio J., Manceau, Loic, Martre, Pierre, Rodriguez, Alfredo, Ruiz-Ramos, Margarita, Nendel, Claas, Semenov, Mikhail A., Stratonovitch, Pierre, and Ewert, Frank (2021) Methodology to assess the changing risk of yield failure due to heat and drought stress under climate change. Environmental Research Letters, 16. 104033.

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While the understanding of average impacts of climate change on crop yields is improving, few assessments have quantified expected impacts on yield distributions and the risk of yield failures. Here we present the relative distribution as a method to assess how the risk of yield failure due to heat and drought stress (measured in terms of return period between yields falling 15 below previous 5-year Olympic average yield) responds to changes of the underlying yield distributions under climate change. Relative distributions are used to capture differences in the entire yield distribution between baseline and climate change scenarios, and to further decompose them into changes in the location and shape of the distribution. The methodology is applied here for the case of rainfed wheat and grain maize across Europe using an ensemble of crop models under three climate change scenarios with simulations conducted at 25 km resolution. Under climate change, maize generally displayed shorter return periods of yield failures (with changes under RCP 4.5 between -0.3 and 0 years compared to the baseline scenario) associated with a shift of the yield distribution towards lower values and changes in shape of the distribution that further reduced the frequency of high yields. This response was prominent in the areas characterized in the baseline scenario by high yields and relatively long return periods of failure. Conversely, for wheat, yield failures were projected to become less frequent under future scenarios (with changes in the return period of -0.1 to +0.4 years under RCP 4.5) and were associated with a shift of the distribution towards higher values and a change in shape increasing the frequency of extreme yields at both ends. Our study offers an approach to quantify the changes in yield distributions that drive crop yield failures. Actual risk assessments additionally require models that capture the variety of drivers determining crop yield variability and scenario climate input data that samples the range of probable climate variation.

Item ID: 69597
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1748-9326
Keywords: climate change impact, climate risk assessment, crop model, maize, relative distribution ,wheat
Copyright Information: Original content from this work may be usedunder the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence. Any further distributionof this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI.
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2021 01:28
FoR Codes: 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3702 Climate change science > 370201 Climate change processes @ 33%
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3702 Climate change science > 370299 Climate change science not elsewhere classified @ 34%
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3004 Crop and pasture production > 300405 Crop and pasture biomass and bioproducts @ 33%
SEO Codes: 26 PLANT PRODUCTION AND PLANT PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 2603 Grains and seeds > 260312 Wheat @ 50%
26 PLANT PRODUCTION AND PLANT PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 2603 Grains and seeds > 260306 Maize @ 50%
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