Meta-analysis of climate impacts and uncertainty on crop yields in Europe

Jerry Knox*, Andre Daccache, Tim Hess, David Haro Monteagudo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Future changes in temperature, rainfall and soil moisture could threaten agricultural land use and crop productivity in Europe, with major consequences for food security. We assessed the projected impacts of climate change on the yield of seven major crop types (viz wheat, barley, maize, potato, sugar beet, rice and rye) grown in Europe using a systematic review (SR) and meta-analysis of data reported in 41 original publications from an initial screening of 1748 studies. Our approach adopted an established SR procedure developed by the Centre for Evidence Based Conservation constrained by inclusion criteria and defined methods for literature searches, data extraction, meta-analysis and synthesis. Whilst similar studies exist to assess climate impacts on crop yield in Africa and South Asia, surprisingly, no comparable synthesis has been undertaken for Europe. Based on the reported results (n = 729) we show that the projected change in average yield in Europe for the seven crops by the 2050s is +8%. For wheat and sugar beet, average yield changes of +14% and +15% are projected, respectively. There were strong regional differences with crop impacts in northern Europe being higher (+14%) and more variable compared to central (+6%) and southern (+5) Europe. Maize is projected to suffer the largest negative mean change in southern Europe (−11%). Evidence of climate impacts on yield was extensive for wheat, maize, sugar beet and potato, but very limited for barley, rice and rye. The implications for supporting climate adaptation policy and informing climate impacts crop science research in Europe are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113004
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number11
Early online date11 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2016


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