Near-term climate change impacts on food crops productivity in East Africa

Crop production in Sudan and Ethiopia, where economy relies largely on rainfed agriculture, is facing significant challenges due to climate change, population growth, and the slow adoption rate of agricultural technology. However, a lack of consensus exists on how near-term climate change may affect food crop productivity in the region through changes in temperature and precipitation. Here, authors Yeon Woo Choi and Elfatih Etahir, co-director of the Jameel Observatory | CREWSnet at MIT, empirically estimate optimal-growing temperature and precipitation for a select group of food crops using historical observations. They then project climate change impacts on crop yields based on a non-parametric empirical crop model using, as input, results from high-resolution (20 km) regional climate model driven by CMIP5/CMIP6 global climate models. Their results suggest that East Africa will need to take proactive adaptation measures to mitigate the projected food production challenges.

Theoretical and Applied Climatology