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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Future crop yields and water productivity changes for Nebraska rainfed and irrigated crops

  • Author(s): Lu, Y
  • Yang, X
  • Kueppers, L
  • et al.

© 2018, © 2018 International Water Resources Association. We assessed future rainfed and irrigated crop yield and water productivity changes in Nebraska across multiple climate and emission scenarios using an empirical modeling approach. We found rainfed crops showed slightly increased crop water productivity while irrigated crops showed no change or decreased water productivity. Contrary to U.S.-wide studies reporting declines in crop yields, we projected Nebraska crop yields to increase overall with greatest increases in current rainfed fields due to combined effects from maximum and minimum temperatures. However, the increased rainfed yields are not sufficient to fully close the gap between rainfed and irrigated yields. Abbreviations: USDA: U.S. Department of Agriculture; RegCM4.3: ICTP Regional Climate Model version 4.3; NCEP: National Centers for Environmental prediction; DOE: U.S. Department of Energy; CGCM: Canadian Climate Centre general circulation model; GFDL: Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory general circulation model; CRCM: Canadian Climate Centre regional climate model; CCSM: National Center for Atmospheric Research general circulation model; HRM3: Hadley Centre’s Regional Model 3; HADCM3: Hadley Centre’s general circulation model; WRFG: the NCAR Weather Research and Forecasting model; CCCma: Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis; CanESM2: Canadian Centre Earth System Model 2; ICHEC-EC: A European community Earth-System Model; IPCC: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; RMSE: Root Mean Square Error.

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