This paper assessed the effect of projected climate change on the grain yield of barley in fourteen administrative regions in the United Kingdom (UK). Climate data for the 2030s, 2040s and 2050s for the high emission scenario (HES), medium emissions scenario (MES) and low emissions scenario (LES) were obtained from the UK Climate Projections 2009 (UKCP09) using the Weather Generator. Simulations were performed using the AquaCrop model and statistics of simulated future yields and baseline yields were compared. The results show that climate change could be beneficial to UK barley production. For all emissions scenarios and regions, differences between the simulated average future yields (2030s–2050s) and the observed yields in the baseline period (1961–1990) ranged from 1.4 to 4 tons·ha−1. The largest increase in yields and yield variability occurred under the HES in the 2050s. Absolute increases in yields over baseline yields were substantially greater in the western half of the UK than in the eastern regions but marginally from south to north. These increases notwithstanding, yield reductions were observed for some individual years due to saturated soil conditions (most common in Wales, Northern Ireland and South-West Scotland). These suggest risks of yield penalties in any growing season in the future, a situation that should be considered for planning adaptation and risk management.
Bibliographical noteThis is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
- climate change
- UK Climate Projections
- water and heat stress