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Stanford research shows importance of European farmers adapting to climate change
Date:5/22/2014

A new Stanford study finds that due to an average 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit of warming expected by 2040, yields of wheat and barley across Europe will drop more than 20 percent.

New Stanford research reveals that farmers in Europe will see crop yields affected as global temperatures rise, but that adaptation can help slow the decline for some crops.

For corn, the anticipated loss is roughly 10 percent, the research shows. Farmers of these crops have already seen yield growth slow down since 1980 as temperatures have risen, though other policy and economic factors have also played a role.

"The results clearly showed that modest amounts of climate change can have a big impact on yields of several crops in Europe," said Stanford doctoral student Frances Moore, who conducted the research with David Lobell, an associate professor of environmental Earth system science.

Moore, a student in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, described the results as somewhat surprising because Europe is fairly cool. "So you might think it would benefit from moderate amounts of warming," she said. "Our next step was to actually measure the potential of European farmers to adapt to these impacts."

Moore and Lobell analyzed yield and profit records from thousands of farms between 1989 and 2009. These originated in the European Union's annual Farmer Accountancy Data Network survey. Combining detailed climate records with the farm data, they were able to understand how yields and profits have changed over time. By comparing yields in warmer and cooler parts of Europe, they could predict how adaptation may help European farmers in the coming decades. Their research is detailed in the latest issue of the journal Nature Climate Change.

"By adaptation, we mean a range of options based on existing technologies, such as switching varieties of a crop, installing irrigation or growing a different crop, one be
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Contact: David Lobell
dlobell@stanford.edu
Stanford University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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