Insight: crops will face more extreme heat during flowering season
We then constructed historical air temperatures from 1980 to 2011 by interpolating weather station data. Future temperature projections up to the 2050s were taken from a range of climate models included in the CMIP5 inter-comparison project.
While faster plant growth at higher temperatures may lead to earlier flowering and somewhat reduced extreme heat exposure for wheat grown in temperate areas, this will have little impact for crops grown in tropical locations, where the temperature varies little throughout the year. Other environmental change factors, such as rising atmospheric carbon dioxide and changes in soil moisture, will also affect crop yields in coming decades. That said, stress during the reproductive period will continue to present a risk for crop production regardless of other beneficial changes. Farmers, working with all levels of government, need to think proactively about how to prepare for these changes through crop and variety switching, shifting sowing dates, irrigation and agronomic management, and potentially moving cropping systems to other regions altogether.