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Impacts of 1.5 versus 2.0°C on West African cereal yields

Faye B., Webber H., Naab J.B., MacCarthy D.S., Adam M., Ewert F., Lamers J.P.A., Schleussner C.F., Ruane A.C., Gessner U., Hoogenboom G., Boote K., Shelia V., Saeed F., Wisser D., Hadir S., Laux P., Gaiser T.. 2018. In : Abstracts of the 7th AgMIP Global Workshop. San José : IICA, p. 26-27. AgMIP Global Workshop. 7, 2018-04-24/2018-04-26, San José (Costa Rica).

With the Paris Agreement, governments around the world agreed to limit global temperature rise to less than 2.0°C above pre-industrial levels, with the ambition to keep warming to 1.5°C. Designing appropriate mitigation responses requires weighing costs of mitigating versus associated damages for the two levels of warming, with particular consideration of the implications for regions already challenged by food insecurity. This study assessed impacts in the West African Sudan Savanna of 1.5°C versus 2.0°C on yields of maize, pearl millet and sorghum. Two crop models were used that were calibrated with common varieties from experiments in the region. To capture a range of realistic management, early, typical and late sowing was assessed. Further, simulations were conducted for both current fertilizer rates and for an intensification case which assumed fertility not limiting, in attempt to capture the extremes of possible economic development scenarios on current cropping systems. With current fertilizer use, results indicated 2% units higher losses for maize and sorghum with 2.0°C compared to 1.5°C warming, with no change in millet yields for either scenario. In the intensification case, yield losses due to climate change were larger than with current fertilizer levels. However, despite the larger losses, yields were always 2-3 times higher with intensification, irrespective of the warming scenario. Though yield variability increased with intensification, there was no interaction with warming scenario. Risk and market analysis are needed to extend these results to understand implications for food security.

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