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Climate Change and Agriculture

NH Rao National Academy of Agricultural Research Management, Rajendranagar, Hyderabad

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Learning objectives
Climate context: change, emissions, forcing, impacts, models, scenarios, projections Agricultural context: crop yield changes, economic impacts, resource and environment effects, food security both problem and solution Sustainable development context: food security, vulnerability, adaptation, mitigation

With reference to India

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Climate change and Variability

Fig Source : IPCC, 2001

Climate change (IPCC Definition): change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g. using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties, and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer
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Background: Green house effect and global warming

climate is driven by solar energy 30 % scatters back to space, 70% warms the earths surface; earth emits energy back as infrared/thermal radiation greenhouse gases: water vapour, CO2, ozone, methane, nitrous oxide, halocarbons and other industrial gases (< 1%) greenhouse effect: greenhouse gases block infrared radiation to cause a rise in temperature (natural greenhouse effect) keep the planet about 300 C warmer than it would otherwise be (essential for life) anthropogenic forcing: rising levels of green house gases (except water vapour) from human activity industry, agriculture, land use change transportation, etc., leading to enhanced greenhouse effect global warming: climate system adjusts to rising greenhouse gases to keep the global energy budget in balance through rise in average temperature; uncertainties: global warming even by a small rise in temperature will be accompanied by many changes which are difficult to predict : cloud cover, wind patterns, ocean currents, etc., which may produce positive or negative feedbacks
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The climate change process Emissions


of GHGs in atmosphere

(climate forcing)

Climate change
(Temp, rain, sea-level)

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1000 years of global CO2 and temperature changes

Surface temperatures have risen about: 0.7oC since the early twentieth century, about 0.5oC of this increase is since 1978 by 2100 1.4 to 5.8oC over 1990 levels.

Fig source: NASA

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Rise in mean temperature (1880-2006)

Warmest 12 years: 1998,2005,2003,2002,2004,2006, 2001,1997,1995,1999,1990,2000

Global Surface Temperatures are Increasing at: 0.74 C/decade in last 100yrs 1.28 C/decade in last 50yrs 1.7 C/decade in last 25 yrs
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Sea level rise and snowmelt

Sea level rise in 20th century: 0.17 m Maximum area covered by seasonally frozen ground has decreased by about 7% in Northern hemisphere since 1900
Fig source: IPCC
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Changes in surface temperature 1970-2004

Source IPCC, AR4 2007

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Main categories of GHG emission sources

Energy: fuel combustion in energy industries, manufacturing industries, transportation, other

Industrial processes and product use: chemical industries, mineral industry, metal industry, electronics industry, product usage, other
agriculture, forestry and other land use: crop land, livestock, manure management, forest land, wet land, grassland, soils, other land waste disposal: solid waste disposal, biological treatment, incineration and open burning, other

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Atmospheric concentrations of GHGs over last 2000 years

Global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have increased markedly as a result of human activities since 1750 and now far exceed pre-industrial values The global increases in carbon dioxide concentration are due primarily to fossil fuel use and land use change, while those of methane and nitrous oxide are primarily due to agriculture.

(IPCC AR4, 2007)

concentrations of carbon dioxide have increased from about 280 ppm (pre industrial era) to about 379 ppm (2005)

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Carbon dioxide concentration - database

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World GHG emissions and sources

Source: Rosegrant, 2009

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Emissions from different sources (IPCC, 2007)

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Summary of GHG increases (1970-2004) - global

CO2 : 70% (largest sources: power generation, transport) CH4 : 40% (largest source: agriculture rice, livestock) N2O: 50% (largest source: agriculture - fertilizer use) Agricultural CH4 and N2O have increased 17% during 1990-2005; most of it from developing countries Note: Global Warming Potential (GWP) of Methane and nitrous oxide >> Carbon dioxide Methane has a GWP of 25 times carbon dioxide

Nitrous oxide has a GWP of 298 times carbon dioxide

source: IFPRI, 2009

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Regional share of GHG emissions

1990 2000

Indias share:
CO2 28,485 1,222 0 CH4 6,408 548 317 N2O 3,286 71 58 PFC HFC 108 381 3 8 0 0

Source : Sharma et al, 2006

Greenhouse gas emissions, 2004 estimates (million mt, CO2e) World India Indian agriculture
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SF6 Total 60 38,726 2 1,853 (5% of total) 0 375 (20% of Indian)

Source: IFPRI, 2009


How do we know that changes are because of human activities?

Model Results establish the connection between temperature change and human activities

Source: IPCC
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Observed and simulated temperature change (IPCC, 2007

state-of-the-art climate models, reproduce almost perfectly the last 125 years of observed temperatures.

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India: Observed temperature changes 1901-2007


Maximum temp Minimum Temp

TEMP. TREND in C/100yrs






Regional Variations in Max Temp Trends

1.4 1.2 1 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0 West Him. North West North Central North East West Coast East Coast Interior Pen. Max Temp Trends

T increase for India ~0.5 C/100yr (1901-2007); 0.2 C/10yr (1971-2007) Both Max and Min T are increasing Max T increase is at a faster rate Winter months show larger increase West coast, North East and Western Himalayan show larger Source: IMD increase

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India - Changes in rainfall

Low & Moderate events (<10 cm)

No long-term trend in all-India mean Monsoon Rainfall since 1871 Epochs of above/below normal monsoon activity with a periodicity of approx. 30 yrs (current period - below normal epoch) Changes in rainfall characteristics increase in frequency of high rainfall events
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Heavy events (>10cm)

V. Heavy events (>15cm)


Regional Climate model (PRECIS) simulations for India



source: Rupakumar et al, 2006

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Predicting climate change and impacts

CO2, methane, etc.

Scenarios from population, energy, economics models

Carbon cycle and chemistry models

Climate Forcing.


Gas properties Coupled climate models Impacts models

Temp, rain, sea-level, etc.

Flooding, food supply, etc.
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Fig source: Srinivasan, IMD


Scenarios - IPCC
40 scenarios grouped in 4 families - A1, A2, B1, B2 - A1: rapid growth in globalized world, high energy use - A2: slow development, slow convergence; use of renewable energy - B1: similar to A1;more emphasis on energy conservation and environment (information, services) - B2: slow development, local solutions for sustainable development corresponding GHG emission levels for each scenario marker scenarios: for each family identified
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Climate projections

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Temperature changes that different regions of the world might experience (difference between average T of 2071-2100 and 1990). Land areas are expected to warm more than oceans, and the greatest warming is projected at high latitudes.
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Temperature and precipitation trends over India for A2 and B2 scenarios (Rupakumar et al, 2006) Temperature Rainfall

by end of 21st century: rainfall increase by 15-40% mean annual temperature increase by 3C to 6C. maximum increase over northern India. more warming over: land; winter, and post monsoon
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Source: Rupakumar et al 2006


Climate change : factors affecting agricultural productivity

monsoon dependence increasing rainfall and variability rising temperature CO2 fertilization decrease in length of growing period increase in rainfall offset by rise in temperature soil moisture stress increase in water resources in Acute physical water most river basins can coexist scarce conditions with water stress Constant water scarcities and shortage increased variability because of increased rainfall variability, Seasonal / regular stressed conditions floods/ droughts Rare water shortages increased pest infestation reduction in input use efficiencies lower farm incomes
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Predicted changes in temperature (A1F)

Source: World Bank 2011

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Crop Yields are Projected to Decrease Throughout the Tropics and Sub-tropics, but Increase at High Latitudes

Global reports indicate a loss of 10-40% in crop production by 2100.

Source: IPCC, 2007

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Differential impacts : Development status

Warming impact on India - effect of temperature on farm value (source: Dinar, 2002)
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Growth in emission transfers via international trade

CO2 emissions in developed countries (Kyoto Protocol, Annex B countries) have stabilized, but emissions in developing countries (non-Annex B) have doubled. Stabilization in developed countries was partially because of growing imports from developing countries. Soure: PNAS 2011
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India - Impacts on crop yields and production

Change in grain yield, %



Year 2040




Production , Mtons

75 70

0.0 -5.0 -10.0 -15.0 -20.0 -25.0 -30.0 -35.0

Year 5
Minimum Maximum


65 60 55 50 45 40 2000 2010 2020 2030 Year 2040 2050 2060 2070

Change in grain yield, %

0 2010 -5 -10 -15 -20 -25 Minimum Maximum 2020 2030 2040 2050 2060 2070

Wheat production in India

Source: Aggarwal, 2002

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India Impacts on agriculture

Milk production

Length of growing period Basmati quality

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Impacts on resources - water

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Impacts on fisheries and livestock

Increased water, shelter, and energy requirements for livestock Animal distress due to heat- effects on reproduction Loss of 1.5 million tons of milk by 2020 in business as usual scenario Increasing sea and river water temperatures to affect fish breeding, migration, and harvests.

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Impact of Climate Change on Indian Agriculture

productivity decrease due to increase in temperature and decrease in water availability (especially in Indo-Gangetic plains). greater loss in rabi ; every 1oC increase in temperature reduces wheat production by 4-5 million tons. increased climatic extremes- droughts and floods- lead to increased production variability increased fertilizer requirement for the same production targets; leading to higher emissions loss of 1.5 million tons of milk by 2020 in business as usual scenario increasing sea and river water temperatures affect fish breeding, migration, and harvests effects on microbes, pathogens, and insects imbalance in food trade due to positive impacts on Europe and N. America quality of several commodities could change, e.g basmati rice, medicinal and aromatic plants Source PK Aggarwal, 2008
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climate change and food security

Fig source: Ingram et al, 2005

Agronomy + crop models

crop models + farm/regional databases + GIS

Crop models + farm/regional databases + GIS + Food security assessments

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Framework for food security assessment

Stability of production base
Food Utilization Nutritional Value Social Value Food safety Food Access Affordability Allocation Preference

Food Availability Production Distribution Exchange

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Climate change impacts on food security

Calories Child malnutrition


Nelson et al, 2009

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Food security assessment

household: food insecurity in India (current) Effect of climate change (Nelson et al, 2009) decline in calorie availability and per capita consumption of meat and cereals increase in prices affects household food security increase in child malnutrition need to connect development policies with climate change adaptation and mitigation policies

Fig source: MSSRF

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IPCC Definition

Vulnerability is the degree to which a system is susceptible to, and unable to cope with, adverse effects of climate change, including climate variability and extremes.
Vulnerability is a function of the character, magnitude, and rate of climate change and variation to which a system is exposed, its sensitivity, and its adaptive capacity

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IPCC framework

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Vulnerability assessment
(Example: OBrien et al 2004) 1. Adaptive capacity =

f (biophysical, socioeconomic, technical factors)

- biophysical factors: soil depth, quality; groundwater - socioeconomic factors: literacy, gender equity, alternatives - technical factors: irrigation, infrastructure 2. Sensitivity to stress (dryness, monsoon dependence) 3. Exposure (from climate scenarios)
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Biophysical vulnerability

Social vulnerability

Technical vulnerability

Adaptive capacity

Low adaptive capacity: districts in Bihar (Jharkhand), Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka

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Climate sensitivity
1961-90 With exposure: 2x CO2

High Climate Sensitivity: districts in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh.
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Indian agriculture - current vulnerability to Future Climate Change

Hot spots: districts in Jharkhand Rajasthan Gujarat Northern Maharashtra Madhya Pradesh Follow up: Targeted studies at village level in above districts to validate or identify barriers at local level

Useful for assessing relative distribution of vulnerability to climate change at district level
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Adaptation options
Agronomy: time of planting, changes in inputs, timing, water management New crops/varieties: drought/heat resistant diversification With Adaptation T (+ 2C) + precipitation (+) 7% GDPAgri 7% T (+ 3.5C) + precipitation (+ 15% ) GDPAgri 2.5% Poverty Hunger
(Kavikumar, 2002)

The adaptive capacity of small and marginal farmers is severely limited by dependence on natural factors, access to inputs, and institutional support systems
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% Change in Cereal Yield vs. Temperature Change (with/without adaptation) from 69 Modeling Studies Synopsis low latitude cereal yields < current, even with modest warming projected reduction for South Asia (20%) can challenge food security with increasing climate variability and frequencies of extreme events, crop yield losses can occur at smaller mean temperature increases Climate change likely to affect farmers not by gradual change in climate conditions, but by changes in frequencies of extremes (droughts, excessive rainfall, heat stress) A change in climate variability is worse for crops than slow, gradual climate change
(source: Easterling 2005)
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Mitigation: which sectors contribute more to GHG emissions

Manure m anagem ent 5%

Rice cultivation 23%

Crop residues 1%

Em ission from soils 12% Enteric ferm entation 59%

Source PK Aggarwal, 2008

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Mitigation strategies
Crop management: plant breeding, nutrient management, water management, rice management, land use change, agroforestry, Grazing land management Management of Soil organic matter Restoration of degraded lands Livestock management: feed management, dietary additives, animal breeding Waste management Carbon sequestration soil as carbon sink zero tillage, conservation tillage Water pricing

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Framework for assessment of mitigation options

Fig source: Pathak et al, 2005

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Emissions and reductions from mid season drying of rice (Nelson et al 2009)

CO2 equivalent emissions

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Reductions for one drying (for rice)


Adaptation vs mitigation issues for agricultural research and policy

Adaptation focus on crop breeding and management responses climate change is global, whereas adaptation is intensely local significant uncertainties in scaling down model scenarios to local scales adaptation is seasonal and usually considered at 3 to 20 year time horizons, whereas climate change scenarios are for far future, 2050 or 2100 relevance of many current adaptation studies is therefore uncertain Mitigation agriculture as part of solution to climate change problem BMPs can significantly reduce emissions (intermittent irrigation and drainage reduces methane emissions by 40%; conservation tillage, fertilizer management, livestock feed improvements can reduce GHGs) reduced GHGs can earn carbon credits (can be offset against subsidies) needs better understanding of processes and high traceability of BMPs
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Institutional arrangements in India

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ICAR Network on Climate Change and Agriculture: Thematic areas

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ICAR Network on Climate Change and Agriculture

A Network on Climate Change and agriculture launched in 2004 for studies on impact assessment, adaptation and mitigation options Current strength: 23 institutes > 100 scientists more planned

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Summary exposure mainly temperature and rainfall changes at regional scales; information needed at finer resolutions (1km2); other information needs include: changes in onset and withdrawal of monsoon, LGP impact: limited to productivity at field scale; need for understanding connections with farm and regional scales and with the agricultural value chain (farm to plate) costs: information needed on costs of adaptation/ mitigation alternatives: need to explore alternate strategies: insurance, information exchange, carbon offsets integration: climate policy with development policy data : need to develop national data sets
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Thank You

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