CR 69:129-141 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01395

Effects of climate change on the yield of winter wheat in the eastern Mediterranean and Middle East

K. Constantinidou1,*, P. Hadjinicolaou1, G. Zittis1, J. Lelieveld1,2 

1Energy Environment and Water Research Center, The Cyprus Institute, 1645 Nicosia, Cyprus
2Department of Atmospheric Chemistry, Max Plank Institute for Chemistry, 55020 Mainz, Germany
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Warming and drying in the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East (EMME) associated with climate change may have consequences for humans and ecosystems, including agriculture. Agriculture can be directly affected through meteorological conditions that influence crop growth and yield. Here we explored changes in the yield of durum (winter) wheat Triticum tirgidum in the EMME region caused by projected changes in thermal and hydrological conditions, employing the agro-ecological zones (AEZ) methodology. The climate input was obtained from simulations by the PRECIS regional climate model over the EMME domain at 25 km resolution, driven by a range of IPCC emissions scenarios for the 21st century. For the crop yield calculation, we used 2 steps of the biomass calculation from the AEZ methodology by calculating crop yield potentials with regard to temperature, solar radiation and evapotranspiration regimes. Our results showed that for the recent past, the highest wheat yields are found in the Fertile Crescent and the coastal areas of eastern Mediterranean Europe. The former region is projected to be negatively affected by the additional heat due to climate warming, while in the latter region yield gains may be expected. Our implementation of the AEZ methodology can be based on a range of climate data and can be applied to a number of crops, contributing to yield studies relevant for regional assessments of food security.


KEY WORDS: Triticum tirgidum · Yield · Agro-ecological zones methodology · Regional climate change · Eastern Mediterranean - Middle East


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Cite this article as: Constantinidou K, Hadjinicolaou P, Zittis G, Lelieveld J (2016) Effects of climate change on the yield of winter wheat in the eastern Mediterranean and Middle East. Clim Res 69:129-141. https://doi.org/10.3354/cr01395

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