A new push to get farmers in Europe worried about warming

Stanford research shows importance of European farmers adapting to climate change

New Stanford research reveals that farmers in Europe will see crop yields affected as global temperatures rise, but that adaptation can help slow the decline for some crops.

A newly published Stanford study indicates European wheat yields will drop more than 20 percent by 2040 due to global warming.

A new Stanford study finds that due to an average 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit of warming expected by 2040, yields of wheat and barley across Europe will drop more than 20 percent.

New Stanford research reveals that farmers in Europe will see crop yields affected as global temperatures rise, but that adaptation can help slow the decline for some crops.

For corn, the anticipated loss is roughly 10 percent, the research shows. Farmers of these crops have already seen yield growth slow down since 1980 as temperatures have risen, though other policy and economic factors have also played a role.

“The results clearly showed that modest amounts of climate change can have a big impact on yields of several crops in Europe,” said Stanford doctoral student Frances Moore, who conducted the research with David Lobell, an associate professor of environmental Earth system science.

Moore, a student in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, described the results as somewhat surprising because Europe is fairly cool. “So you might think it would benefit from moderate amounts of warming,” she said. “Our next step was to actually measure the potential of European farmers to adapt to these impacts.”

Moore and Lobell analyzed yield and profit records from thousands of farms between 1989 and 2009. These originated in the European Union’s annual Farmer Accountancy Data Network survey. Combining detailed climate records with the farm data, they were able to understand how yields and profits have changed over time. By comparing yields in warmer and cooler parts of Europe, they could predict how adaptation may help European farmers in the coming decades. Their research is detailed in the latest issue of the journal Nature Climate Change.

“By adaptation, we mean a range of options based on existing technologies, such as switching varieties of a crop, installing irrigation or growing a different crop, one better suited to warmer temperatures,” said Lobell, the associate director of the Center on Food Security and the Environment at Stanford. “These things have been talked about for a long time, but the novelty of this study was using past data to quantify the actual potential of adaptation to reduce climate change impacts. We find that in some cases adaptation could substantially reduce impacts, but in other cases the potential may be very limited with current technologies.”

According to the analysis, corn has the highest adaptation potential. Moore and Lobell predict that corn farmers can reduce yield losses by as much as 87 percent through long-term adaptation.

As Moore pointed out, three key areas of uncertainty make it difficult to predict the future of crop yields in Europe. Most scientists focus on the uncertainty around future climate conditions, but the Stanford team found that the biggest issues are often how quickly farmers in Europe will adapt to climate change (adaptation uncertainty) and how crop yields will respond to climate change (response uncertainty).

In future research, Moore and Lobell hope to focus on measuring how quickly farmers are adapting to changing temperatures.

“This paper has shown that crops in Europe are sensitive to warming and that adaptation can be important in reducing that impact,” Moore said. “The next question is how quickly farmers will use the available options for adapting. Europe has already seen a lot of warming, so we should expect to already see adaptation if farmers are quick to respond to climate signals.”

Laura Seaman is the communications and external relations manager for Stanford’s Center on Food Security and the Environment, a joint program of Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.


I don’t know about European yield numbers, but in the United States, so far such claims of yield reduction have not come to pass. The trend is still upwards.


And, temperatures don’t seem to have much effect on corn yields above:



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Stanford is making claims completely at odds with known historical facts. My bet is on the factual data, not Stanford’s make believe theories.


The power of faith to blind the authors of these reports is amazing. Faith, properly applied, helps people do good. When one looks at the quality of the studies and actions the climate obsessed produce, the clearer it is that they are not applying faith in a good way.

Just another liberal American university, spewing lies and brainwashing students.

“A new Stanford study finds that due to an average 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit of warming expected by 2040”
Its not expected by me, or the IPCC. So, who expects such a rise in only 25 years?


“that due to an average 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit of warming expected by 2040”
consistent with no temp rise for over a decade
Perfect example of “science”…..build on someone’s else’s work….and don’t check to see if their work is accurate at all

John Silver

Yeah, they better get a new combine harvester.

This sounds ludicrous to believe that increased CO2 in the atmosphere will cause a decline in crop yields! Sofar, increased co2 has resulted in add’l greening of the planet, so why would these crops be any different?


“though other policy and economic factors have also played a role.”
duh. ya think? well, maybe only 99.999% of the role. But let’s not spoil the grant-seeking effort….

G P Hanner

“For corn, the anticipated loss is roughly 10 percent, the research shows.”
What are we talking about here? The American term for maize is CORN; to most of the rest of the Western world, corn is a generalized term for small grains such as wheat and rye. Corn (maize) thrives in warm temperatures and the rain that usually follows those conditions — at least in temperate climates like the American Midwest and Western Europe. However, since the countries of Western Europe are generally at higher latitudes than the American corn belt, they don’t grow a lot of maize because the temperatures aren’t as favorable as the American corn belt.

Do wheat crops respond to real temperature changes only, or do they also respond to adjusted temperature changes and/or modeled temperature changes?

I had to do a triple-take on that last graph of US Corn Belt Temperatures, June/July/August, 1900-2013. It was an intersection of two subsets. I first read the chart as that 1932 peak was 1998 and the scale was years, not decades. It is an example of scale invariance of fractals.
First off, are those the USHCN anomaly temps post GISS adjustment? And they still show 1930s with a huge summer spike?!
2. This is the first time I’ve seen the 1992-1993 crash in temps. I suspect something artificial in the data collection/processing rather than in the climate. Either that or some US Government law that changed farming practices in the early 1990s.
3. The 42 CIMP5 Model Average: Is this an equivalent subset? Corn Belt USA, June/July/Aug?
4. To be fair, the temperature profile on this chart should also have accompanying lines for
Yield / acre.
Planted acres.
Irrigated acres.
The USHCN temperature profile above might be heavily influenced by the rise in irrigation. It would be interesting to see relative humidity anomaly along with the temperature anomaly.

Stanford University? Since when are they experts in the corn belt?
Any chance that someone at Iowa State peer reviewed it?

Adam Gallon

UK temps have been dropping over the passed decade and they expect us to believe that over the next 26 years, we’re going to see a 3.5F increase?


Excuse my ignorance, and please inform me… 42 cmip5?
In that graph there is obviously a projection into future years. But since the line goes back to circa 1905, I suspect that this model at some point was an observation, and became a projection. Can someone tell me when that happened?


This is utter garbage. I’m ashamed to be associated with Stanford, to which alma mater I’ve quit donating. Climate “scientists” have become no better than lying Creation “scientists”. Worse, since the CACA swine are feeding at the public trough instead of off private donations & can influence policy.
This study yet again shows how execrably pal review works.

michael hart

A new Stanford study finds that due to an average 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit of warming expected by 2040…

What ever Europe is expecting, it won’t be in Fahrenheit.

John F. Hultquist

“Combining detailed climate records with …”
“… somewhat surprising because Europe is fairly cool.”
“… already seen yield growth slow down since 1980 as temperatures have risen,”
“… between 1989 and 2009.”
“… an average 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit of warming expected by 2040,”
They want $32 to determine exactly why this puppy just peed on the floor. No deal.

Patrick B

As others have noted – who expects 3.5 F rise by 2040?
Also, the average high temperature in July in Kansas, our biggest wheat growing state, is 32 – 34 C; the average high temperature in July in France, Europe’s biggest wheat growing country, is 24 – 26 C. So according to Stanford, Kansas cannot grow wheat?


michael hart says:
May 22, 2014 at 8:24 am
But it sounds scarier in F.


don’t worry it’s raining cats and dogs since the first of May and the farmers are happy


So many obvious details left out here. Like planting time. If it’s warmer, and you know it’s warmer, it will change when you plant. It may also change your timing for irrigation, fertilizer, pesticides, etc.
And they only looked at harvests based on temp, not on CO2 levels. What’s the impact there?
I see this as a sound start toward processing data. The conclusions presented are wholly unwarranted.

John F. Hultquist

@ michael hart
The Fahrenheit/Celsius and the Maize versus Corn (@ G P Hanner) word usage suggests, maybe, the authors were trying to write for an American audience. Folks from Stanford likely think their country’s residents are not accustomed to highfalutin terminology. They call the interior of North America “fly over country” and believe paved roads and television are rare.

I have realized, especially in the light of all of these latest claims, that you can very easily substitute the words “The Will of God” in place of the words “Climate Change” or “Global Warming”, and the statements have exactly the same amount of credibility and predictive power.
Example: “A newly published Stanford study indicates European wheat yields will drop more than 20 percent by 2040 due to the Will of God.”
See how that works? Who can disprove that????


The farmers in Europe adapted to climate change during the LIA by switching the root crops that would not rot as easily as grains. I am sure they can figure it out again on their own.


I wonder what crop yields Stanford is referring to? What nations were included in this study. For many nations in Europe, land being farmed has actually gone down. Farming and grazing lands in Greece and Italy have dropped mainly due to the aging of their farmers. In 2004 the average age of an Italian farmer was 61 years.
Additionally, consumption of certain European products (such as beer and wine) has dropped during the last 20 years. Therefore, the demand for barley, grapes and hops are dropping. The median age for Europe is now over 41. Forty years ago it was 26. The elderly consume less food than the young. Again, this causes to demand for farm products to drop. And EU nations enjoy some of the highest farm subsidies on earth. Many farms simple do not exist anymore, while other lands have gone over to industrial farms.
I seriously doubt that absolute crop yields have dropped in Europe. The growing seasons are longer, and there is little signs of significant droughts in most of the growing regions of Europe. Again, it would be nice for an independent source to analyze the data Stanford is using.

They can always respond by chopping down some windmills to free up more arable land.


“European wheat yields will drop more than 20 percent by 2040 due to global warming.”
What planet are these people on? Or rather, whose pocket are they picking this time??
I am presuming Stanford agree that we have already had a bit of warming in past decades. And what did this past warming do – increase or decrease yields??
This is a DEFRA graph of UK wheat yields. See any decline here?
And this is the UK yield per hectare. Any decline here? So the increased yields above are not simply due to more land usage:
So perhaps the decline is in the rest of Europe?
Well, here are the wheat yields in UK, France and Germany. See any decline here?
Warming actually causes increased yields.
So can we take these people to court, for scaremongering, misuse of public funds, and fraud? Via their scaremongering charade, these ‘scientists’ are gaining grants and healthy stipends. Is not a monetary gain through misrepresentation, a fraud?

michael hart

“Many farms simple do not exist anymore…”
That didn’t stop the Common Agricultural Policy paying money for their non-existent crops in some cases, though I believe the problem may be less severe than it once was. Still, those crops wouldn’t much be affected by temperature 🙂


This is twisting of facts to an extreme degree. EU has for almost 20 years rewarded farmers if they cut fertilizer use and produce less or shift to organic farming. After rising steadily, wheat yields have leveled off as a result of these policies. Warming has got absolutely nothing to do with it and basically everyone familiar with EU farming subsidies knows these facts:
Western Europe’s wealth, low rates of population growth,
and present status as a net exporter of wheat (FAO 2012)
afford flexibility in trading off gains in yield for other policy
goals, and it appears that leveling corresponds well with
specific policy and management choices. Near the time that
leveling is generally observed, the European Union shifted
away from a policy that rewarded high agricultural production
through price guarantees to a policy that pays flat subsidies
that do not increase with production and triggers taxes when
production limits are exceeded (Alexandratos 1999, European
Commission 2011).
Ecological considerations also prompted the European
Union to implement policies in 2003 that reduced pesticide
and inorganic fertilizer application (FAO 2008, DEFRA
2011). Excepting Austria and Greece, every Western
European nation that shows level yields has reduced fertilizer
use during the intervals in which they show flat yield,
relative to the preceding decade (The World Bank 2010).


Jarmo says: May 22, 2014 at 9:13 am
This is twisting of facts to an extreme degree. EU has for almost 20 years rewarded farmers if they cut fertilizer use and produce less or shift to organic farming.
Indeed, this was the ‘set-aside’ policy, to reduce EU food mountains. These mountains were caused by government intervention and price fixing in agriculture, causing Communist-style inefficiencies and the resulting surpluses or shortages (depending on the fixed price).
The set-aside policy — being paid for doing nothing:
For instance. On the large hills in the UK near us the farmers keep many more sheep than the hill can feed. So in a complete reversal of normal hill farming, they take food onto the hill to feed the sheep. But the sheep are left to die of old age, and neither the wool nor the meat is ever used.
And the reason for this agricultural stupidity?
The farmers are farming the hill-sheep subsidy, not the sheep themselves. So just as we see in wind-farming, the goal is to milk the public teat, and not to rear sheep or create electricity. And since we have adopted this crazy Soviet-Communist system of widespread government intervention, we should not be surprised if the whole charge collapses, just like the Soviet system did.
(Remember the old Soviet joke about the button factory being tasked by their command-economy system to make 500kg of buttons each month. And they did, and therefore fulfilled their quota. Trouble was, they only made five buttons a month – and they weren’t too useful in the garment industry…..)

Dave Wendt

Corn yields are suppressed by increased heat? I would suggest that these naifs venture to Iowa in a couple months. On a July day when it has been 90-100F all day and it’s lingering in the 70s through the night, if you venture out into a corn field and stand quietly you can literally HEAR the corn growing.
What is most irritating about this nonsense is that every planet saving celebutard who can manage to get their mug in front of a camera or a mike feels free to declare that I must be a mouth breathing, knuckle dragging, flat Earther because I don’t find the BS(Bad Science) output of these “scientists” convincing enough to sign on to plans which will completely ruin our, and everyone else’s, economies and lifestyles based upon their impeccable logic. I should amend that everyone, because it is plainly obvious that some folks are clearly intended to prosper dramatically from this catastrophism.


Dave Wendt says:
May 22, 2014 at 9:33 am
Maize is a domesticated variety of teosinte, a tropical, true grass of the genus Zea in the family Poaceae. Several Zea species occur in Mexico, Guatemala & Nicaragua. They like it warm.


@ ralfellis
Set-aside policy does not have effect on yields per hectare. Fertilizer application does, take a look at this graph which shows how nitrogen fertilizer use peaked in EU in 1986 and then fell:


Jarmo says: May 22, 2014 at 9:47 am
@ ralfellis
Set-aside policy does not have effect on yields per hectare. Fertilizer application does, take a look at this graph which shows how nitrogen fertilizer use peaked in EU in 1986 and then fell:
I know, which is why I pasted a graph of yields per hectare, as well as gross yields.
However, temperature, CO2 concentrations, crop varieties, and farming techniques WILL affect crop yields per hectare. And since yields per hectare have been slowly increasing, it sure looks like warmer temperatures have NOT been detrimental to yields.
So what are these loonies on about?

Old England

3.5 deg F rise in European temperatures by 2040 !!! Only in the dreams of ‘model makers’ and others of a warmist persuasion. That’s a rate per century of 14 deg F .
I have some problem with their thinking – in the UK winter wheat and barley planted in September to October will grow more strongly with a warmer winter (less frost and snow) and crop a little earlier. Biggest effect in reducing yields is either too wet and too cold or drought. But then what would I know I’m not a climate scientist, just a farmer.

Why is a California University doing a study on crops in the EU where the Californians probably have no experience? Wonder who paid them to do the study and the Terms of Reference?


Sheesh, someone needs to tell the climate system about this prediction, only 25 years to go till 2040! I suspect Big Green HQ are working late tonight, telling all these study groups to push back the prediction date.


Every farmer knows that CO2 is good for crops, they pump the stuff into their greenhouses to increase growth rate and mass.

And I thought the problem with Europe was the short growing season. Maybe if we include Ukraine in the equation the yields will come down, but that is due to mismanagement. Before WW1 Ukraine was known as the bread basket of Europe. That all changed with Stalin, and in some respect Ukraine has never fully recovered from that.


“A newly published Stanford study indicates European wheat yields will drop more than 20 percent by 2040 due to global warming.”
New mind the data just carry on with “in a warming world fiction”.
We are unlikely to see ANY global warming before about 2035 anyway


Interesting, at first I thought the second graph was the last 15 years, then I noticed the dates.
I thought I was looking at 1998, 2003 and 2010 El Nino peaks there.
Fractal temps!

How about the governments worrying about our sun’s decline into a new grand minimum and the temps cooling?


“A new Stanford study finds that due to an average 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit of warming”
Yeah, because we use F in Europe. In order to scare farmers with that, someone needs to provide them with conversion sheets.
3.5°F are what anyway? 1-2°C?
I’m calling BS on this study. If that was true, then Italy, etc, shouldn’t have any agriculture at this point, because, guess what, it’s usually hotter in Italy, Spain or Greece than in Austria or Germany.


Stanford lost its credibility when it gave a degree in communication to Michelle Wie, who can’t even communicate with a golf announcer.
“Stanford doctoral student”
A common fraud in cheapa$$ studies. Using “doctoral” before the doctorate has been earned is fraud. She is a graduate student.
This is another, “Given global warming, . . . .” study.


Apparently the peer reviewers missed the points made here about EU policies impacting production. Not very expert of them.


The latest EU research report on food production attributes the small fall in food production to the switch to organic farming and to the production of biofuels both of which are becoming a significant part of land use. Its difficult to see how any study on farming can make sense of figures from a period of massive political and policy changes.

Longer growing periods may mean that a second crop can be grown.
Even without that, I’m sure the yield from the Volga River Basin will increase.

Brian H

An expert is someone who has chosen his particular graph-wiggle to linearly extrapolate into absurdity, fame, and fortune.


Stanford research shows importance of European farmers adapting to climate change

Here is how they adapted to a changing climate.

Medieval Climatic Optimum
Michael E Mann – University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA
It is evident that Europe experienced, on the whole, relatively mild climate conditions during the earliest centuries of the second millennium (i.e., the early Medieval period). Agriculture was possible at higher latitudes (and higher elevations in the mountains) than is currently possible in many regions, and there are numerous anecdotal reports of especially bountiful harvests (e.g., documented yields of grain) throughout Europe during this interval of time. Grapes were grown in England several hundred kilometers north of their current limits of growth, and subtropical flora such as fig trees and olive trees grew in regions of Europe (northern Italy and parts of Germany) well north of their current range. Geological evidence indicates that mountain glaciers throughout Europe retreated substantially at this time, relative to the glacial advances of later centuries (Grove and Switsur, 1994). A host of historical documentary proxy information such as records of frost dates, freezing of water bodies, duration of snowcover, and phenological evidence (e.g., the dates of flowering of plants) indicates that severe winters were less frequent and less extreme at times during the period from about 900 – 1300 AD in central Europe……………………
Some of the most dramatic evidence for Medieval warmth has been argued to come from Iceland and Greenland (see Ogilvie, 1991). In Greenland, the Norse settlers, arriving around AD 1000, maintained a settlement, raising dairy cattle and sheep. Greenland existed, in effect, as a thriving European colony for several centuries. While a deteriorating climate and the onset of the Little Ice Age are broadly blamed for the demise of these settlements around AD 1400,