Home Page Methodology Data limitations The Scenarios Query the data Web resources CIESIN home page SEDAC HOME
Potential Impacts of Climate Change on World Food Supply
Data Sets from a Major Crop Modeling Study
by Cynthia Rosenzweig and Ana Iglesias

Note: This data set has now been superseded by a new data set on the effects of climate change on global food production under SRES emissions and socio-economic scenarios produced by the same authors. Users are recommended to use the new data instead. SEDAC is maintaining this web site for reference purposes.

In the coming decades the agricultural sector faces many challenges stemming from growing global populations, land degradation, and loss of cropland to urbanization. Although food production has been able to keep pace with population growth on the global scale, there are serious regional deficits, and poverty related nutritional deficiencies affect close to a billion people globally. In this century climate change is one factor that could affect food production and availability in many parts of the world, particularly those most prone to drought and famine.

In an effort to better understand the potential global impacts of climate change on agriculture, in 1990 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency contracted the Goddard Institute for Space Studies to coordinate a major study of the effects of changing temperature and precipitation regimes and increased CO2 concentrations on crop production and its economic implications. The central aim of the study was to provide an assessment of potential climate change impacts on world crop production, including quantitative estimates of yield changes of major food, cash and industrial crops, prices, trade and risk of hunger. Agricultural scientists from 18 countries estimated potential changes in crop growth and production at 125 key agricultural sites using compatible crop models and consistent climate change scenarios. The study assessed the implications of climate change for world crop yields taking into account uncertainty in the level of climate change expected, physiological effects of CO2 on plant growth, and different adaptive responses. Projected yields at the agricultural sites were then aggregated to major trading regions, and fed into a global trade model (the Basic Linked System or BLS) in order to produce regional estimates of potential price increases, food shortages, and risk of hunger.

Over the past eight years, the study has been further developed and refined based on advances in coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models (GCMs), crop models applied spatially, and the projected range of adaptation scenarios. The purpose of this web site is to make the data sets on projected crop yields publicly available for query and analysis. The following pages provide important background on the methodology used to create the data set, data limitations, and the scenarios utilized. For those unfamiliar with the study and its assumptions and methodologies, it is recommended to read through the supporting documentation before querying the data set in order to understand how the crop yield scenarios were generated.

For more information, see a longer article based on the original EPA-funded research.

Introduction | Methodology | Data Limitations | The Scenarios | Query the Data | Web Resources | CIESIN home page | SEDAC home page
CIESIN Home Page
Need help or information? Contact SEDAC User Services
About SEDAC    Acknowledgments   Privacy Policy and Important Notices
SEDAC Home Page
Copyright© 2001. The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York. 

SEDAC Home CIESIN Home Web Resources Query the Data The Scenarios Data Limitations Methodology