Stanford claims farmers "dodged impacts of global warming" in the USA, but you have to find it first.

But it looks to me as if corn doesn’t care. Check out U.S. corn yield. Corn seems to be doing well. I used corn yield because in the Stanford Press Release, they refer to corn yields. Some of the gains seen below are likely the result of improved seed lines.

Now have a look at US temperature for the same period:

What global warming? The last two years of annual mean temperature for the USA (2009, 2010) is about the same as it was in 1980 and 1981, and lower than many years since.This graph is from the National Climatic Data Center. You can plot it yourself here with the default base period, no trend line, and years 1980-2010.

===========================================================

From Stanford University via Eurekalert

US farmers dodge the impacts of global warming — at least for now

Global warming is likely already taking a toll on world wheat and corn production, according to a new study led by Stanford University researchers. But the United States, Canada and northern Mexico have largely escaped the trend.

“It appears as if farmers in North America got a pass on the first round of global warming,” said David Lobell, an assistant professor of environmental Earth system science at Stanford University. “That was surprising, given how fast we see weather has been changing in agricultural areas around the world as a whole.”

Lobell and his colleagues examined temperature and precipitation records since 1980 for major crop-growing countries in the places and times of year when crops are grown. They then used crop models to estimate what worldwide crop yields would have been had temperature and precipitation had typical fluctuations around 1980 levels.

The researchers found that global wheat production was 5.5 percent lower than it would have been had the climate remained stable, and global corn production was lower by almost 4 percent. Global rice and soybean production were not significantly affected.

The United States, which is the world’s largest producer of soybeans and corn, accounting for roughly 40 percent of global production, experienced a very slight cooling trend and no significant production impacts.

A combine harvester reaps, threshes and winnows its way through a field of corn at harvest time. Yields in the US, Canada and northern Mexico have yet to feel the impact of global warming. Credit: UDSA

Outside of North America, most major producing countries were found to have experienced some decline in wheat and corn (or maize) yields related to the rise in global temperature. “Yields in most countries are still going up, but not as fast as we estimate they would be without climate trends,” Lobell said.

Lobell is the lead author of a paper about the research to be published May 5 online in Science Express.

Russia, India and France suffered the greatest drops in wheat production relative to what might have been with no global warming. The largest comparative losses in corn production were seen in China and Brazil.

Total worldwide relative losses of the two crops equal the annual production of corn in Mexico and wheat in France. Together, the four crops in the study constitute approximately 75 percent of the calories that humans worldwide consume, directly or indirectly through livestock, according to research cited in the study.

“Given the relatively small temperature trends in the U.S. Corn Belt, it shouldn’t be surprising if complacency or even skepticism about global warming has set in, but this study suggests that would be misguided,” Lobell said.

Since 1950, the average global temperature has increased at a rate of roughly 0.13 degrees Celsius per decade. But over the next two to three decades average global temperature is expected to rise approximately 50 percent faster than that, according to the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. With that rate of temperature change, it is unlikely that the crop-growing regions of the United States will continue to escape the rising temperatures, Lobell said.

“The climate science is still unclear about why summers in the Corn Belt haven’t been warming. But most explanations suggest that warming in the future is just as likely there as elsewhere in the world,” Lobell said.

“In other words, farmers in the Corn Belt seem to have been lucky so far.”

This is the first study to come up with a global estimate for the past 30 years of what has been happening, Lobell said.

To develop their estimates, the researchers used publicly available global data sets from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and from the University of Delaware, University of Wisconsin, and McGill University.

The researchers also estimated the economic effects of the changes in crop yield using models of commodity markets.

“We found that since 1980, the effects of climate change on crop yields have caused an increase of approximately 20 percent in global market prices,” said Wolfram Schlenker, an economist at Columbia University and a coauthor of the paper in Science.

He said if the beneficial effects of higher carbon dioxide levels on crop growth are factored into the calculation, the increase drops down to 5 percent.

“Five percent sounds small until you realize that at current prices world production of these four crops are together worth nearly $1 trillion per year,” Schlenker said. “So a price increase of 5 percent implies roughly $50 billion per year more spent on food.”

Rising commodity prices have so far benefited American farmers, Lobell and Schlenker said, because they haven’t suffered the relative declines in crop yield that the rest of the world has been experiencing.

“It will be interesting to see what happens over the next decade in North America,” Lobell said. “But to me the key message is not necessarily the specifics of each country. I think the real take-home message is that climate change is not just about the future, but that it is affecting agriculture now. Accordingly, efforts to adapt agriculture such as by developing more heat- and drought-tolerant crops will have big payoffs, even today. ”

###

Justin Costa-Roberts, an undergraduate student at Stanford, is also a coauthor of the Science paper. David Lobell is a researcher in Stanford’s Program on Food Security and the Environment, a joint program of Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment and Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Schlenker is an assistant professor at the School of International and Public Affairs and at the Department of Economics at Columbia.

IMAGE: A combine harvester reaps, threshes and winnows its way through a field of corn at harvest time. Yields in the US, Canada and northern Mexico have yet to feel the…

Advertisements

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Mike Bromley the Kurd

There’s the M-word again. Let’s model it, and we can show anything, even if somehow we escaped the thing we are showing. ARRRNK! Wrong answer!

David, UK

“Given the relatively small temperature trends in the U.S. Corn Belt, it shouldn’t be surprising if complacency or even skepticism about global warming has set in, but this study suggests that would be misguided,” Lobell said.
You WISH, Lobell. You show your true colours. No true scientist would claim that scepticism is misguided. Only a self-interested crook would make such a ludicrous anti-scientific statement. To be against scepticism is to be against freedom of thought. You must be very disappointed by the lack of famine, disasters, general catastrophe – and the lack of warming – in the USA.

Stanford University:
They then used crop models to estimate what worldwide crop yields would have been had temperature and precipitation had typical fluctuations around 1980 levels.
The researchers found that global wheat production was 5.5 percent lower than it would have been had the climate remained stable, and global corn production was lower by almost 4 percent.
JK: OK, I get it:
Models predict crop yield.
Prediction does not match reality.
Therefore climate change has reduced the yeild!
Psst! Psst! Over here->->->(Look at the model’s credibility)
Stanford University:
“The climate science is still unclear about why summers in the Corn Belt haven’t been warming.
JK: Err, how about because most warming is at night, and in the cities?
Thanks
JK

Bernie Kelly

“Yields in most countries are still going up, but not as fast as we estimate they would be without climate trends,” Lobell said.
Yields increasing, and this is bad news?
“We found that since 1980, the effects of climate change on crop yields have caused an increase of approximately 20 percent in global market prices,” said Wolfram Schlenker, an economist at Columbia University and a coauthor of the paper in Science.
Is it not more likely that global warming (hysteria) has led to food being diverted to ethanol and biodeisel production leading to increased prices?
“In other words, farmers in the Corn Belt seem to have been lucky so far.”
Or is it possible that the hypothesis is wrong?

Ari

Much of the corn produced in Brazil came to be planted after soybean harvest and therefore have lower productivity. No relation to AGW.

Roger Carr

The climate science is still unclear about why summers in the Corn Belt haven’t been warming. But most explanations suggest that warming in the future is just as likely there as elsewhere in the world,” Lobell said.
Perceptive chap. The critical word being “likely”.
…just as likely there as elsewhere…
Quite.

As far as I tell from a quick search on the interweb, there is a whole lot more than temperature that affects wheat production. Just like there is a whole lot more than a trace gas that affects the climate, I guess.

Eric

Common Tiger, we know you can spend your money better than this…

Ummm… “Yields in most countries are still going up, but not as fast as we estimate they would be without climate trends.” That is, had the climate remained stable. This estimation is based on what, exactly?
Oh, I see… They used crop models to estimate what worldwide crop yields would have been had temperature and precipitation had typical fluctuations around 1980 levels.
There’s that word again – models. Counter-factual virtual “reality” that is as about as real-world as “Reality” TV. And their ideal situation is also utterly unreal. Typical fluctuations around 1980 levels? Have they not even bothered to check the global temperature readings for the last century-and-a-half to see how often temperature and precipitation have hovered around any level for thirty years?

Sounds to me, as someone who has farmed, sold machinery, dealt in livestock and more, like research from people that have not had cropping experience.
Lobell included: according to the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
This immediately tells me that he doesn’t really know and has to rely on the IPCC activists.
Colder temps are more likely to reduce crop yields, as is reduced moisture availability.
In Western Australia’s ‘wheat belt’ for instance, early rainfall while still warm in the autumn, brings much larger yields than if this rain starts later during early winter, when minimum temps are often at freezing point or lower, even if there is more rainfall.
Higher temperatures during spring and summer are also preferred to boost yields and encouraging ripening. This area consistently has summer maximum temperatures in excess of 40C.
Higher temperatures are preferred, so bring the warming on, I say. It is a pity that it is not happening.

Sean

At first glance this study appears to be the inverse of the governments claims on jobs “saved or created” in the midst of rising unemployment. The more important issue however is, are there lessons being lost by trying to tie every change in yield to a weak global temperature trend when regional factors are really all that matter. Did they account fo how technology like GM crops affect yields or provides resistance to vagaries in the weather? Getting distracted and missing the real keys to success in improving yields does not move the ball forward.

Shevva

It’s Friday I’m thinking about beer :-
“Yields in most countries are still going up, but not as fast as we estimate they would be without climate trends,” – Whats a climate trend? my guess some sort of model output?
“It appears as if farmers in North America got a pass on the first round of global warming,” said David Lobell, an assistant professor of environmental Earth system science at Stanford University. “That was surprising, given how fast we see weather has been changing in agricultural areas around the world as a whole.” – Rounds of global warming? well if there getting the rounds in mines a tall cold one and what is the scale they are using to justify how fast is fast?

Steve Keohane

It’s kind of like the sea level rate of increase, someday GW may have an effect. Unfortunately for those playing this game, fudged numbers don’t affect reality. Vegetation is up on the planet some 6% allegedly due to increased CO2. These folks are saying the increased temperatures globally have reduced crop yields. So the increase of a fantasy-fraction of a degree outweighs the measurable effects of CO2 on plant life.
Here’s 180 years of Illinois corn vs. CO2. http://i52.tinypic.com/1zv51td.jpg

orson2

Isn’t is convenient to their framing that the good “luck” of North America includes the best kept and most continuous temperature records in the world. Meanwhile, for the areas they claim to be lagging in production increase the most, have among the worst?
Maybe it isn’t luck~

View from the Solent

“They then used crop models to estimate what worldwide crop yields would have been had temperature and precipitation had typical fluctuations around 1980 levels.”
No point in reading any further.

MackemX

“We found that since 1980, the effects of climate change on crop yields have caused an increase of approximately 20 percent in global market prices,” said Wolfram Schlenker, an economist at Columbia University and a coauthor of the paper in Science.
I assume the increase in oil proces, in part fuelled by CAGW propaganda, has been factored into these price increases?
Also, is it really useful to compare actual crop yields with models of what yields might have been had the weather not changed at all? Seems very much like a piece of ill advised spin applied to an utter non-story. Far more accurate would have been a report detailing how crop yields had increased since 1980, but that kind of misses the required narrative.

Apparently Europe is the world and European trends are global trends.
North America is not on the world.
If that’s really the case, North America should be exempted from all agreements on “global” warming. We obviously can’t have any effect on the globe.

Frank K.

View from the Solent says:
May 6, 2011 at 4:43 am
“They then used crop models to estimate what worldwide crop yields would have been had temperature and precipitation had typical fluctuations around 1980 levels.”
No point in reading any further.

My thoughts exactly! Perhaps these “researchers” should get their butts on a tractor for a couple of seasons and find out what farming is really all about before they write scaremongering reports like this one…

Sundance

More post-normal nonsense. It reminds me of our liar politicians. They’ll spend $2 billion more than the previous but will tell you they cut $.4 billion in spending when all they really did was reduce what they ‘expected’ to spend, say from $4 billion to $3.6 billion. So what is actully a $1.6 billion increase in spending is spun by the liar politicians as a spending cut of $.4 billion. Now we have scientists “divining” what they think reality should have been (from models) and any variance is a man made fingerprint. Post-normal science at its finest.

starzmom

Seems to me the biggest effect that climate change has had on the corn crop is that some people have been persuaded that we should divert corn to biofuels and away from food, to protect ourselves from climate change, and that is why the food prices are going up. I’ll bet a smart researcher can make that link without resort to a model, and in no more than 2 or 3 verifiable steps. Now there is a project for you!

Jimbo

“Crop yields fall as temperatures rise ”
“Yields went up, but they didn’t go up as much as they might have,”
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20449-crop-yields-fall-as-temperatures-rise.html

Huth

The main problem in the world today is not global-warming-or-whatever-you-want-to-call-it but negative thinking.

erik sloneker

How does one model crop yeilds when we are developing new super-hybrid breakthroughs on almost a yearly basis?
Here in the heart of the corn belt (Central Illinois) we had a hard frost on May 3rd (about the latest I can ever remember) and are still struggling with an extremely cold, wet and late spring. There’s 3 weeks left in the corn planting season and our local farmers are way behind and praying for a little global warming.

Steven Schuman

Come on Anthony, you can give us tougher ones than this. When I do crossword puzzles, I always pick hard ones for the challenge. Even a sixth grade science class could pick this paper apart.

Bruce Cobb

Another Goebel Warming fairy tale paper, ready for the dung pile of countless others. If only they could be spread over crop fields adding nutrients to the soil, thus raising crop production. But no, they would only poison the ground in the same way they poison minds of those still willing to Believe the nonsense they espouse.

Latitude

Doesn’t look like they took into consideration what the crops/yield was used for.
There’s a big spike in yield when corn was converted to ethanol, and a bigger spike when tax credits were given for that corn/ethanol.
Corn that is grown for ethanol is not as regulated as food corn, and farmers can use more/different/cheaper insecticides, fertilizer, water, etc. That increases their yield a whole lot…………………

jack morrow

I’ve known lots of farmers who might say say they had one lucky year, but most will tell you luck has nothing to do with farming. What a bunch of baloney this report is-just like most of the recent ones posted here. Alas.

Mike

“What global warming? The last two years of annual mean temperature for the USA (2009, 2010) is about the same as it was in 1980 and 1981, and lower than many years since.This graph is from the National Climatic Data Center. You can plot it yourself here with the default base period, no trend line, and years 1980-2010.”
Cherry picking at its finest. Why didn’t you include the trend line? That is the default option on the NOAA page where you made the graph.

David, UK

Huth says:
May 6, 2011 at 5:18 am
The main problem in the world today is not global-warming-or-whatever-you-want-to-call-it but negative thinking.

Yeah, let’s all just tell a few jokes to the alarmists, get them to think more positively. We could even slip Prozac into their coffee while they’re not looking. Or we could tell them AGAIN that their whole hypothesis is built on a steaming pile of bullshit and that there is really nothing to worry about. That will cure the “main problem” of negative thinking. Wake up already, Huth.

1DandyTroll

Stable climate . . . why didn’t I think of such contradictory logic. It seems the diploma mills aren’t what they used to be. I remember a time when they had standards, when one had to pay to get a diploma of choice, three for the price of two. And now a days they’re giving ’em away for free, to just about anyone, like they’re worthless. :-()

geronimo

Are they taking into account satellite temperature, of thermometers I wonder?
They’re trying to get on the bandwagon I assume, and for years now you couldn’t do that without mentioning “global warming”, a bit like than film Miss Congeniality where the contestants in the beauty contest all add “and World Peace” to their statements of what they would want if they were crowned queen. I fear they may be a wee bit late, it looks from the rumblings we’re seeing from George Monbiot that the penny is beginning to drop. Gorgeous George seems to have realized that the “renewable energy” we’re all supposed to be getting in a decade or so is just BS, and isn’t coming either from serious energy producers or engineers, but from the Greenies, who know SFA about energy production.

Pamela Gray

Great. Just what we need in Wallowa County. Heat and drought resistent crops. Wrong. What we have needed for the last three seasons are cold resistant crops.
Do these people ever do field research anymore? And who the hell is funding these research grants? If the government has a hand in this, we need to continue to look at those in the Senate and House. As much as I detest the last mistake I made in my choice of President, he can’t appropriate funds. We should be turning our attention to those that hold the purse strings.

Jimbo

“Yields in most countries are still going up, but not as fast as we estimate they would be without climate trends.”

[snip . . those who find this offensive will not be less offended by $ signs . . kb]
This is similar to those who say that the cooling is masking the warming trend.

MNHawk

“David Lobell is a researcher in Stanford’s Program on Food Security and the Environment, a joint program of Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment and Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. ”
Climate papers from POLITICAL SCIENTISTS?! are now being taken seriously?

Jimbo

“We found that since 1980, the effects of climate change on crop yields have caused an increase of approximately 20 percent in global market prices,” said Wolfram Schlenker, an economist at Columbia University and a coauthor of the paper in Science.

Mmmmmmm! I don’t suppose corn turned into biofuels has anything to do with it?
Meanwhile, in the real world, the biosphere as well as the Sahel is greening. C02 is a killer, Satanic gas.

Sun Spot

@Mike says:
May 6, 2011 at 5:45 am
The NOAA web page is great, try a plot for 1998-2011, January and July, you get some interesting cherries. What cherries did you want us to see ??

Steve Keohane

Mike says: May 6, 2011 at 5:45 am
“What global warming? The last two years of annual mean temperature for the USA (2009, 2010) is about the same as it was in 1980 and 1981, and lower than many years since.This graph is from the National Climatic Data Center. You can plot it yourself here with the default base period, no trend line, and years 1980-2010.”
Cherry picking at its finest. Why didn’t you include the trend line? That is the default option on the NOAA page where you made the graph.

Oooo… scarey trend line, 0.67°C per century! That changes everything, not. Why we might get a whole degree with the doubling of CO2.

Scottish Nationlists Win Outright Majority
We’ve just learnt that the Scottish Nationalists have gained their 65th member of the Scottish Parliament. Whilst this is not a direct vote for independence, it is a vote for a Scottish referendum on independence and so it is possible that Scotland will be an independent country within 5 years.
Unfortunately, all the Scottish parties are numpties on Global Warming. However, as the only mention of global warming in this election I know about was the strong campaign against wind power in Shetland which nearly unseated the Liberal Democrat leader in Scotland (Liberal Democrats share power in the UK), it is highly unlikely the politicians got any kind of public support for their previous eco-zealot like stance pro-global warming.
One fly in the ointment is that the Greens are said to be heading toward another MSP. Fortunately, an outright majority by the SNP largely makes the Greens redundant in this parliament, and as before they will no doubt huff and puff but have no real effect.
Furthermore, the other traditionally highly pro-warmist party (the Liberal Democrats) have suffered a staggering defeat loosing almost all their MSPs.

Janice Baker

Toronto’s Globe and Mail has a slightly different take on this story: while climate has warmed in the US and Canada, it is within the range of natural variabliity – the summary in SCIENCE notes a “startling exception” to global warming – the US isn’t getting any warmer. Schlenger is quoted “There’s always been variablity, so its really hard to attribute one single event to climate change”. Environment Canada’s David Phillips comments that people tend to explain every change in weather as climate change. “We just seem to gravitate toward the climate change as an explanation for everthing that happens.”
I hope someone can access the entire study and comment on it

Daniel

Following up on Mike’s comment above: the temperature plot shown here and the “caption” below it are incredibly inconsistent with each other. You don’t need to be a climate scientist to see the positive trend in this time-series. Once more, go to the NOAA page and generate the plot INCLUDING THE TREND LINE. Of course, if you are so skeptic as to want to hide the trend by any means, you can just not plot it and then deny its existence. However, if you opt for being objective, plot it and you will see a clear 0.40 degF/decade trend. What really bothers me is that except for Mike, the rest of the people here seem to have simply believed that there is no trend in this plot, just because Anthony Watts says so.
Second, you say

The last two years of annual mean temperature for the USA (2009, 2010) is about the same as it was in 1980 and 1981, and lower than many years since.

I’m sorry to disappoint you, but global warming does not mean that every year will be warmer than the previous, or even than the previous several years! Variability in different time scales can be much larger than the linear trend.
So, there is a positive trend in mean temperature in the US in the previous 30 years according to this data set. Another issue is if this has an impact on corn yields. That is of course a much more complicated question, which probably has no concluding answer yet, but is worth investigating.

Gnomish

heh – one gets what one pays his taxes for.
it sure must be fun, the way people keep doing it.

Keith Battye

Oh, the climate is changing and we won’t/can’t see anything to blame but CO2.
Oh, crop yields are variable around the world but we won’t / can’t see anything to blame but climate change.
Man that CO2 is one powerful little bugger. Or maybe when you are a hammer every problem looks just like a nail.
Palookas.

Eyal Porat

I wonder why the starting point of reference was the 80’s….
Is it because the temperatures were exceptionally low (“Ice age is coming”)?
Nahhh, couldn’t be.
It makes me sad, very sad to see how bad science has become. Shoot the arrow first and then paint the target around it.

anopheles

Well, first off let me say that a scientific community which can tell what climate was a thousands years ago by looking at tree rings ought to be able to explain stuff happening this year when they have all that climate data. That they cannot match growth to mean temperature, why…it’s no less than…a travesty!
Secondly, is there actually a documented case anywhere in the inhabited world where there is an actual change of climate outside of previous standards and natural variability which cannot be accounted for by land-use changes? Not just a shift in ‘average temps’ but an actual demonstrable robust change in climate, early sping, late frosts, snowlines, anything?

Alan F

Thanks Mike for that. Dropped in 2000-2011 and still laughing. Funny that now the lights are being left on in the AGW Temple of Doom, there’s oh so little to see.

Steve C

That’s a splendid steady upward slope in Reuters’ “Average Yield” plot at the top. You could almost imagine it correlating rather well with, say, % CO2.

Keith

I am surprised no one has commented on the obvious error in the temperature graph. Here it is corrected:
http://climvis.ncdc.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/cag3/hr-display3.pl

Keith

Well that didn’t work. In any case the average line is in error.

G. Karst

Not only does the BBC jump on this modeling exercise:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13297004
But they also give the climategate offenders a free pass:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13300058
It all makes one wonder, if the efforts, of skeptics, is having any real effect, on the environmentalist, and AGW machinery. All of its gears and cogs are broken, but the choo choo, keeps on going. Perpetual motion machines, seem to indeed, exist! GK

Sun Spot

@Daniel says:
May 6, 2011 at 7:11 am
If CO2 is the major driver of climate change than temperatures must rise year over year with rising CO2 levels. If you use the NOAA web site to plot a graph from 1995-2011 you get a negative trend (or no trend depending on the month selected), that’s 15 years. This means for 15 years natural climate variability has overpowered any CO2 forcing; natural climate change is the null hypothesis to CAGW.