Spatially varying impacts of climate change on wheat and barley yields in Kazakhstan


Climate change has compromised global cereal production, particularly in semiarid regions where small changes in rainfall and temperature or excessive heat can have large effects on crop productivity. Central Asia is particularly vulnerable to climate change, but the understanding of the impacts of climate change on yields is incomplete for this region. We used fixed-effect panel regressions to quantify the impacts of climate trends on wheat and barley yields from 1980 to 2015 in the northern part of Kazakhstan, which is a globally important cereal-producing region. Our results suggest large spatial variations in the impacts of climate change on yields. Compared with the counterfactual situation without climate trends, the observed changes in climate reduced wheat and barley yields by 1.9% and 4.8%, respectively, in the primary cereal-producing region in the west of the study area. These negative impacts were partly compensated for by positive effects in the eastern part of the study region. Extreme heat events had little impact on wheat and barley yields. Suitable adaptation strategies include switching to more drought-resistant crops or to extensive livestock production in areas where climate change has negatively affected crop yields, and the expansion of cereal production in areas that have benefited from climate change.

Journal of Arid Environments